Online classes. Canceled basketball games. Carryout lunches. The COVID-19 coronavirus has upended life in Ohio, and that includes its K-12 schools.
Gov. Mike DeWine closed school buildings through at least April 6 — and the closures are likely to be extended. That has thrown state-mandated testing, graduation, free lunches and, most important, education into disarray.
Throughout the state, teachers and superintendents have risen to the occasion. They have set up online classes and ways to feed children who rely on school-provided meals.
On March 25, the Ohio General Assembly approved changes to how schools will operate during this crisis. Here’s what that means for you.
Will my child need to take state tests this year?
No. State testing was waived for the 2019-2020 school year.
My child is in third grade. Will she be held back for not passing the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.
No. Schools cannot hold a student back based solely on their reading performance during the 2019-2020 school year unless the principal of the building and the student's reading teacher agree that the student is reading below grade level and is not prepared to be promoted to the fourth grade.
My child is a senior. Who determines whether he will graduate?
Your child's principal, in consultation with teachers and counselors, will review the progress the student had made toward meeting the requirements for a high school diploma at the time DeWine's administration closed school buildings.
If your child has an individualized education program, the principal will assess how he or she was meeting those requirements.
If your child was on track to graduate, he or she will graduate.
Is my child eligible for a private school voucher — sometimes called EdChoice?
If your child was eligible for a private-school voucher during the 2019-2020 school year, he or she will be eligible again.
The legislature froze the list of “underperforming” school buildings, so the list won't expand dramatically for the 2020-2021 school year.
Siblings of students who now receive private-school vouchers, kindergarten students, and those entering high school can apply for the performance-based vouchers if their local public school building was deemed “underperforming” for the 2019-2020 school year.
My child has developmental disabilities or other needs. How can teachers help during this time?
Licensed special-education teachers are permitted to use telehealth and electronic communication to reach out to students.
My child is in a career-technical program that relies heavily on in-person teaching. How will that work?
As soon as Ohio Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton allows students to return to school buildings, students who need in-person instruction should have access to it, even if the last instructional day of the school year has passed.
Usually, there's a limit on how many days students can miss in-person class. What's the deal there?
Ohio law typically limits distancing learning — online or other non-classroom education — to three days. But for the 2019-2020 school year, schools can make up any number of days or hours necessary by using distance learning.
I’m a teacher. How will I be evaluated during this time?
Teachers won’t be responsible for “value added,” a measure that evaluates students’ academic growth from year to year.
Will schools and districts receive report cards this year?
The Ohio Department of Education won’t publish report-card ratings for the 2019-2020 school year. Schools won’t receive an overall letter grade or a grade for various components.
Charter schools won't receive ratings, either, and their sponsors won’t be penalized for not complying with requirements while schools are closed.
The Ohio Department of Education is to report any data it has about school and district performance by Sept. 15.