COLUMBUS, Ohio — The school year is coming to a close in Ohio, with students and teachers finishing out the year with remote-learning as COVID-19 has disrupted in-person instruction for all schools around the state. But while the 2019-2020 school year comes to an end, schools and students still do not know what the next school year will look like.
Ben Asks a Question is a feature we started as a way to help give you a voice during Gov. Mike DeWine's daily press briefings. Since then, Ben has gotten hundreds of questions a day. If you'd like to ask a question, find us on Facebook and feel free to message us there, or send us an email at email@example.com.
WCPO received a question sent in this week from a public high school teacher in Ohio, Asiah Berry. Berry voiced her frustration regarding distance-learning, along with many schools’ deciding to grade students on a “pass/fail” basis. With that in mind, I asked Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday how the state will ensure a quality education for young Ohioans if schools are forced to continue remote-learning into the next school year.
DeWine acknowledged the concern -- notably by pointing out the fact that a large number of Ohioans are unable to connect to distance-learning through the internet.
“There is a concern. I have a concern about what these kids are getting,” said DeWine. “Teachers are doing a great job. They’ve been very innovative, but we do have the fact that some kids do not have internet. We’ve got the fact that we have a million Ohioans who don’t really have adequate access.”
DeWine continued to say he hopes school will be back to in-person instruction this fall -- but that with the unpredictability surrounding COVID-19, there’s no way for us to truly know what to expect just yet.
“The goal is that we go back to school in the fall, but one thing that we’ve learned about this virus is there’s a lot we don’t know,” said DeWine. “And every day all you have to do is turn the T.V. on, radio, read the paper and you see how much we don’t know about it. So the Department of Education has working groups made up of educators who are looking at different things, different possibilities. I know every school is kind of assessing how it would go back to school in the fall, and deal with the COVID virus … But there’s no way for us to predict where we’re going to be with this virus by mid-August … We all hope for school in a traditional setting. Whatever happens, we have an obligation to do everything we can to educate our kids.”
Schools in Ohio have been closed for in-person instruction since March 16. Since then students have been expected to attend online classes through remote-learning with their teachers.
As of Thursday, there is no word on plans to change remote-learning methods for the 2020-2021 school year.