Regardless of how a return to school might look for Dublin City Schools students in August, it still could incorporate remote learning in some format.

Pete Kurty, Glacier Ridge Elementary School principal and a member of the district' group tasked with planning for the start of school, said staff members anticipate a variety of possibilities to use remote learning.

Parents have expressed health concerns about instruction within buildings, he said, and the district is exploring options for them.

Remote learning might be needed if students get sick and require quarantine. And remote learning would be needed if the governor again closes schools, he said.

"Therefore, it is likely that remote learning will be needed in some capacity even if in-building learning is the priority," he said.

Kurty and others have been working in two teams -- "team remote" and "team return" -- to focus on the new school year, said Todd Hoadley, Dublin superintendent.

"We feel we'll need both," he said, because an outbreak could force remote learning for a short period of time.

Hoadley said he hopes to give district parents scenarios for the start of school by the end of June. Still, he said, the district would know more the closer it comes to the scheduled start of school Aug. 19.

"It's so fluid right now," he said.

One of the key variables district officials will watch this summer is the number of new coronavirus cases per day and the mortality rate in Ohio, Hoadley said.

"That will largely drive what school looks like in the fall," he said.

Other factors are yet to be determined, Hoadley said, such as class sizes, student seating on buses, whether all students attend school daily and who would be required to masks.

Hoadley said he thinks all staff members will wear masks, but he is not yet sure about requiring them for students.

"I think we've got a ways to go to figure that out," he said.

The district also has been communicating with parents to learn their opinions about how reopening schools should look.

On the weekend of June 6, the district surveyed parents and received 5,500 responses, Hoadley said. The district has slightly fewer than 17,000 students.

According to survey results, 83.7% of respondents said their children would attend school in their buildings should the district reopen and follow safety protocols, whereas 16.3% said their children would not.

A total of 71.8% of respondents said they would be very likely to send their child to school if masks were required, whereas 28.2% of respondents said they likely would not send their child to school.

The survey also explored how parents would feel about scenarios in which their children would have to attend school for a half-day, or every other day.

The results show:

* 72.5% said they would send their child to school on alternating days to maintain student safety; 15.4% said they were unsure; and 12.2% said they wouldn't.

* 70.1% said they would send their child to school for a half-day to maintain student safety; 17.3% said they were unsure; and 12.6% said they would not.

Michael Aurin, Dublin Jerome High School principal and a member of the back-to-school planning group, said staff members are exploring options ranging from the school-day schedule to daily routines.

A student day might look different compared to how it looked last fall, but the goal is to allow students back into the buildings in a practical and safe way, he said.

"Patience and flexibility will be the key," he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah