Centerville parents petition for in-person learning option

Local News

CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – A Centerville parent created a petition for the school district to add an all in-person option for when students return to school.

Carolyn Hall is a parent to four students in Centerville’s district. She was surprised when they announced their online and blended models for the upcoming year.

“I talked to several parents who felt the same way I did, and we thought, you know, why don’t we see who’s out there, what people are thinking, and can this be an option for us,” Hall said.

She launched an online petition for the school to offer an entirely in-person option, claiming the current proposals will cause difficulties for working parents.

As of Tuesday night, the petition had more than 240 signatures.

“How do you do that with scheduling when you have to be home every other day?” Hall said.

She said it also creates concerns for students.

“That emotional up and down of am I going to be at school with my friends if they split whole school system in half,” Hall said.

Hall said she is not advocating against online learning. She said it felt like the district didn’t give parents the option to consider all in-person learning.

According to a statement from Centerville City Schools superintendent Dr. Tom Henderson, the district made the decision after conversations with the Public Health Department, and by looking at Ohio Department of Education guidelines and the latest COVID-19 data.

The statement reads:

“After doing all of this, we came up with two options for families. With our in-person learning option, we are planning to begin the school year with a blended model where students receive instruction in school buildings part of the week and through remote learning part of the week. If the situation improves, this model provides us with the opportunity to bring students back all-day, every day, or if the situation gets worse, we could move into fully remote learning.”

“We are also offering families a second option, where they would commit to an online learning option for at least the first semester if they are uncomfortable or unable to return to school buildings.”

Henderson said in the statement the weeks leading up to the new school year, these plans may change depending on new COVID-19 data.

“We would love for all of our students to be back in session every day, but right now, the blended model provides the best way for us to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Henderson said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced it’s in children’s best interest to be in school.

Dr. Chris Peltier, general pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics Ohio Chapter president elect, said while there are many social and health benefits that come with being in school, in order for it to happen, social distancing and safety guidelines must be followed.

“That’s going to differ from community to community, obviously depending on what the level of virus, and how much virus and what the level of positivity is in the community, but also what are the school’s resources and are they able to do these things,” Peltier said.

Some of the guidelines include mandatory masks, social distancing between students, screening for symptoms and strict cleaning protocols.

Peltier said if a school can’t provide those resources, it may be less risk to keep kids home.

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