LORAIN, Ohio — Although its official reopening plan is not quite ready, the Lorain City School District has announced that the start of classes has been moved back to Tuesday, September 8.
Superintendent Dr. Jeff Graham made the announcement in an email to district parents on Saturday. He also informed the district's ten-month staff that they will still report for their first day on Tuesday, August 4th. Teachers will still report for their first day on Monday, August 17th. However, the typical three days of professional learning will be extended to three weeks -- providing them the time they need to prepare.
"In addition to our new start date, we know that we will NOT be returning to school in the fall as we have in the past — in which 100% of our staff and students report in-person to our buildings each day," Graham wrote. "As we experienced this spring, circumstances may quickly dictate that we end up fully remote, either based on the Governor’s orders, or if, as the result of our process, we determine that approach to be in the best interest of our staff and students."
In his letter, Graham laid out plans for both remote and blended learning after receiving feedback from the district's students and parents. You can read his remarks below:
- Remote learning will be part of the district's plan.
- We know what it will take to provide a quality remote learning experience, where we are in regards to our level of expertise, and what it will take to get from where we are to where we need to be.
- We have many staff members who are experts in this form of delivery, and they are eager to lead and support their peers along the way just as we have many staff who are eager to learn.
- As mentioned above, it will take approximately three weeks to arm our staff with the skills needed to provide a quality education remotely.
- At the same time, our families were clear that caregivers of younger students shouldn't be forced to choose between working and parenting — this dynamic creates many challenges for the families we serve and we cannot ignore the impact that a lack of income has on our children because they become more vulnerable to hunger and homelessness.
- Students have varying needs that are often difficult to meet remotely. Therefore, we are investigating our capacity to offer a blended model — one which includes some form of in-person learning — all while defining exactly what that would look like in the Lorain City Schools.
- That being said, we cannot ignore that half our staff meet the CDC criteria for being at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness, which greatly limits our options for in-school learning.
- In order to participate in any kind of remote instruction, our students will need technology and internet connectivity at home.
- Lorain City Schools will be providing a device to any student who needs one.
- We will also provide internet access to any family in need who has a child attending the Lorain City Schools.
Graham says a draft version detailing the specifics of the district's plan will be shared at a joint Board of Education / Academic Distress Commission meeting on Thursday, July 30th at 5:00PM.