Dublin moves to remote learning for start of academic year

SARAH SOLE
ssole@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Dublin City School District students will begin the school year learning at home.

Board members on Aug. 4 voted 5-0 to approve a resolution for returning to school. According to that resolution, all students, including those who opted into the district’s remote-learning academy, will begin education Aug. 24 following the remote-learning model.

As it stands right now, on Sept. 8, students who are not enrolled in the remote-learning academy are scheduled to begin in-person learning orientations for a hybrid model of education, with 25% of students in buildings at a time. A full hybrid model, with 50% of students in buildings at a time, would begin Sept. 21, according to the plan.

The Sept. 21 start date will be determined by the school board and based upon review of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic data points, state and local guidance, any additional orientation needs and “barring any currently unknown circumstances,” according to the district website, dublinschools.net.

Superintendent Todd Hoadley said the recommendation was guided by advice from district legal counsel and feedback from parents, staff members, health professionals and leaders from employee associations. He said the plan represents a “safe and measured transition” to reopening the district.

The resolution is a slight departure from the district’s initial proposal for the start of school, shifting to remote learning for all students and pushing the start of school back by five days.

According to the dublinschools.net, the district originally proposed the phase-in approach for the hybrid model, in which 25% of students would be in school at a time for assigned days for the first eight days of school, from Aug. 19 to 28. Students were to begin the full hybrid model Aug. 31.

During the Aug. 4 meeting, multiple parents asked leaders to follow Franklin County Public Health’s recommendation for districts to begin the new academic year remotely.

Franklin County Public Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola said health officials strongly believe in the recommendation, but board members could make their own decision. He said the district can “absolutely” open in a responsible way.

“We stand ready to partner with Dublin City Schools in whatever capacity you decide to open,” Mazzola said.

Board members also heard a first reading of a policy for all students to wear masks, with a vote scheduled for Aug. 10. Hoadley said the policy was created before Gov. Mike DeWine’s Aug. 4 announcement of a state order that masks would be required for all students in grades K-12.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah