NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect a change in date for the last day of school, which is now June 11.
DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Public Schools announced Wednesday that students will now learn virtually for at least the first nine weeks of the school year.
District officials also say the 2020-2021 school year will now begin Tuesday, September 8. The school year will end June 11.
Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli cites a surge in coronavirus cases during the month of July as a factor in the decision.
“With this new wave of cases, the district had to revisit the original Restart Plan to determine the best course of action. Determining the best option for all DPS families has been at the forefront of our minds along with developing a plan that prioritizes the safety of all students and staff,” she said in a video statement.
She continues, “This has not been an easy task nor is this an easy decision to make. However, after reviewing the other options in the original Restart Plan and additional options not in that plan, the district will be moving to a totally virtual platform for at least the first nine weeks of school.”
Dr. Lolli says the district will continue to monitor the state of coronavirus cases in Montgomery County after the school year begins. She says parents should be prepared for an extension of virtual learning after the first nine weeks “if active cases of the virus continue at the present level.”
Families who signed up for the original remote learning plan do not need to take any further action.
Virtual learning will consist of learning from a live DPS teacher at designated times.
Students will be issued a “ready pack” containing a Chromebook, dry erase board and marker, a notebook, a pack of pencils, crayons or colored pencils, and paper math manipulatives, if grade appropriate.
One WiFi hotspot per family will be distributed for those that need internet access.
Students will watch pre-recorded lessons by a teacher, and then break out into live sessions for more instruction. Other work will be done independently online.
“It’s extremely important that our teachers who have those small groups are reaching out and making sure that their students are engaging and if they’re not engaging, then we need to find some kind of support,” Dr. Lolli said.
Click here for more details about daily instruction, meals, attendance, and grading.
“I understand where they’re coming from, but it’s a challenge for us because we don’t quite know how we’re going to make it work,” DPS parent Chad Marsh said.
Marsh said he and his wife both work full-time. With two kindergartners and a sophomore, he said he’s worried about leaving their kids home alone for school while they’re at work.
He said in the spring, learning could be done at any time, so they’d complete it with their children after work.
“Now with it being a live teacher kind of session, that they have to be at school at this time, I just really don’t know how we as parents who both work are going to balance that,” Marsh said.
Dr. Lolli said as of now, virtual learning will not have additional costs to the district. Funding for laptops came from a grant.
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