Bexley school board eyes new decision-making plan

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
Bexley School

The Bexley City Schools Board of Education is scheduled to vote during special meeting Tuesday, Nov. 17, on a new learning-mode decision tool, an updated plan to give district administrators guidance on how and when to shift learning models amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, with options for remote learning, a hybrid model and “all in” in-person classes.  

Board members discussed the plan at the Nov. 3 regular meeting. 

The district began the 2020-21 school year Aug. 24 with remote learning and shifted to the hybrid-learning model Sept. 21. The learning-mode decision tool was drafted with recommendations from a panel of medical experts that is advising the district on how to proceed with instruction throughout the pandemic, board President Marlee Snowdon said. 

“This is a group of people who have … different backgrounds, all in either pediatrics or epidemiologists, people who are in the professional world looking at these kinds of numbers every day and these kinds of decisions even in non-COVID times,” she said. 

The tool was prompted, in part, by community members’ questions about how Bexley makes decisions about learning models in comparison to other districts, said Harley Williams, the district’s director of staff and student operations. He said the plan is intended to provide guidance to district administrators while allowing for flexibility in the decision-making process.   

“The intent is really not an ‘if, then,’ like if this happens, then we have to do this,” Williams said. “This is more like a guidepost, maybe cause conversations, create thresholds when we convene our surveillance team to start looking at other data to help influence decisions we might have to make.”  

According to the current draft of the learning-mode decision tool, the district will monitor the Ohio Public Health Advisory System that provides warning levels about the number of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period in Franklin County. When there are 149 new cases or less, the district will shift to all-in classes. When there are more than 150 new cases, the district will shift to a hybrid model. When new cases top 200, the district will shift to remote learning. 

“Bexley City Schools remains committed to using the best data available, the latest verified scientific information and the expert advice of public health and medical professionals to guide decisions relative to how we learn, whether that’s remotely, all-in or in some hybrid fashion,” Interim Superintendent Dan Good said. 

The Nov. 17 special meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held virtually on the district’s website, bexleyschools.org. 

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