DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Dayton Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday, voting to extend students holiday break and return to classes in a hybrid model after an increase of COVID-19 cases in the community.
“If students and our staff are not reporting in person then it would be safer for everyone involved and would hopefully get us through this surge,” said Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli.
Students will now have from Nov. 25 until Jan. 3 off of school for holiday break — there will be no remote instruction during this period. DPS board members unanimously approved moving 15 teaching days from December to June of 2021 due to a rise in covid cases. To make up for this extended absence from school, the district plans to continue with classes until June 29. The last day of school before this extension was June 10.
The district will reevaluate the current climate before returning to school, if cases are still high officials may move students to remote learning for the first week back in January.
Some board members voiced concerns for students’ mental health. They said school can be a safe zone for many students.
“If we could really find a way to check in on some of these folks that really rely on us to be that safe haven for their family,” said DPS Board Member William Smith. “I think that’s one of the things that urban districts just get hit with more than others, we are the safety net for a majority of our students, we’re not just a place to get educated, we are that social hub.”
Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli told 2 NEWS that due to winter athletics being indoors, the district cannot guarantee a safe environment and therefore cannot continue the various programs during the break, but a more concrete decision will be made in the next couple of days.
The changes made to the 2020-21 school year could have an effect on the 2021-22 school year. Officials will decide whether to change the start date after Memorial Day if the new plan goes into place.
A full update on the changes being should be released by the district by Wednesday.
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