DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton and Montgomery County Public Health distributed a letter to school districts Friday. Since then, several school districts have decided to push back their start dates and are considering a new back to school plan.
Public Information Supervisor Dan Suffoletto said because of increasing COVID-19 data, and other risks, Public Health recommends schools reopen virtually with no in-person classes.
“We feel the safest thing to do right now is for students to start the school year online and that will not only protect the students, it will protect the faculty, the staff, the parents and also anyone else in the community who that they may come into contact with,” Suffoletto said.
Since the letter was released, school districts began rethinking their reopening plans.
The Kettering City Schools superintendent is recommending the school board pushes the start date back to September 8. The post says the district will release it’s revised plan by August 7.
Valley View School District made a post stating the district is reviewing Public Health’s recommendations. The district’s start date is September 8 and they are working on a revised plan.
According to the letter the ages 0 to 19 make up nearly 12% of all COVID-19 cases reported in Montgomery County.
Suffoletto says the way children interact at school could lead to an outbreak.
“They’re together in a lot of groups, in a lot of different ways, from buses, to lunch hour, to classrooms, so all of that togetherness, and kids really like to be together, that is what can lead to the spread of COVID,” Suffoletto said.
Public Health’s second recommendation is to discontinue all fall extra-curricular activities and contact sports.
Parent Nathan Grant said he’s glad DPS is putting children’s safety first.
“The uncertainty of everything right now, when you see major sports leagues trying to start up with social distancing and they’ve got millions and millions of money, and testing every day, which children, our children, won’t have that,” Grant said.
A Montgomery County teacher, who spoke anonymously to 2NEWS, said both recommendations are a good move.
“I think it is just brilliant to make sure that folks are not in the buildings, do it from home. It’s going to be different, but life has been different for the last four, five months.”
Suffoletto said the letter is just a recommendation, school districts can make decisions to have in-person or blended learning based on what works best for the district.