DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – On Monday, Governor Mike DeWine extended the mandatory K-12 school closure through at least May 1st and acknowledged the possibility of schools staying closed for the rest of the school year.
DeWine said, “Is it possible that that will have to continue the way it is now remotely until the end of the school year? Yes, it is.”
Districts in the Miami Valley are faced with tough decisions following the announcement.
Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli has spoken to the governor directly about how her students will be impacted.
She says, “My concern is not so much they’re falling behind, but there’s an equity issue. The issue of equity with connectivity, devices.”
A team of 46 DPS teachers worked through their break to craft online lessons, and the district is finalizing plans to send buses equipped with Wi-Fi into densely-packed neighborhoods to serve as hotspots.
Dr. Lolli says, “I’m hearing all kinds of stories from our teachers that they’re staying in contact with their kids. Whether it’s by them creating packets of work for their students or phone calls.”
The Oakwood City School District is also making sure non-academic support services are still available. Superintendent Dr. Kyle Ramey says, “We’re paying very close attention, not only to the social and emotional side for students, and continue to provide those support to the students that need that, but our staff. They need that support as well.”
Superintendent Ramey says the legislature has given districts flexibility, but they still don’t have all the answers. And they could face even more uncertainty if the closures are extended again. “So what is it that’s not going to get covered for next year? What is it that we’re going to have to pay attention to in the fall and reach back and make up some time in?”
Even though the classrooms are closed, both Dr. Lolli and Dr. Ramey say their staffs are extremely busy. Dr. Ramey said that since online learning is new and different, teachers are having to operate as though it’s their first year of teaching.