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Ohio schools might stay closed until summer. What does that mean for kids?

Posted: 6:31 PM, Mar 26, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-26 18:31:52-04
Report: Fewer high school students using drugs, having sex; increasing number feel sad, hopeless

Although Gov. Mike DeWine once referred to the closure of Ohio’s schools as “an extended spring break,” he admitted Thursday the COVID-19 pandemic could keep them shut down through the end of the academic year.

Teachers and students transitioned to remote learning with four days’ notice in mid-March to prevent the spread of the virus within their districts. Now nearly two full weeks into social-distance schooling, Norwood City School District superintendent Mary Ronan said there’s been a learning curve for everyone.

“I think we’re all trying to make the best of it,” she said. “I think all educators have had to learn different skills in the past couple of weeks — Zoom conferencing, Google Meet, all kinds of ways to reach out and touch your students.”

State lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill removing some stressors from the already disrupted school year, including freezing the EdChoice voucher program and eliminating state testing requirements.

State Sen. Cecil Thomas said the legislature felt it needed to step in and take some pressure off schools amid the developing — and still intensifying — global health crisis.

“Superintendents, teachers, principals, districts, they were all over the map” when the closure was first announced, he said. “Everyone was confused.”

The coronavirus relief bill also ensures any senior who was on-track to graduate before the pandemic will still be allowed to do so.

In Norwood, Ronan said remote learning has been a unique opportunity for her students and staff to bond despite their worries about the coming months. As more American students transition to the same mode of instruction, she anticipates potentially long-term changes to the country’s education system.

“I think this may well change the way educators provide learning going forward,” she said.