Most Bexley students will return to full-time in-person classes March 22
The Bexley City Schools plan to return to full in-person classes March 22.
In a 5-0 vote during a Feb. 19 special meeting, the board of education voted to approve a resolution authorizing the district to transition from its hybrid model to “all-in” instruction after spring break.
In approving the resolution, board members cited a recommendation from the district’s COVID-19 Evaluation Team, which consists of district administrators and medical professionals.
In a joint statement, the team’s epidemiologists and pediatricians said their recommendation to return to all-in instruction is based on data and scientific guidelines from a number of organizations and government agencies.
“Our collective recommendation for all-in instruction comes after weighing all these sources of evidence and observing the declining COVID-19 rates in Bexley, Franklin County and the state overall,” the statement read. “We came to conclude that the preponderance of the evidence supports a careful, mitigated return to all-in instruction. The Evaluation Team will continue to monitor closely all available evidence and scientific guidelines and will amend this recommendation if needed.”
The district’s all-in plan includes:
• Distancing of a minimum of 3 feet between students and 6 feet whenever possible
• Frequent hand-washing and sanitizing throughout the day and extensive cleaning after each school day
• Reconfigured bell schedules to reduce hallway crowding during class changes
• Students who are able to eat lunch at home are encouraged to do so to decrease time without masks in a larger setting
• The district also is examining the use of other large areas such as gyms and outdoor spaces to increase seating options for lunch
• Continued case investigation and contact tracing of every student and staff case
• Continuation of all existing precautions for extracurricular activities, including requiring students and staff to wear masks and maintain 6 feet of distancing
• A recommendation that all staff and students wear two masks
The board also discussed having the district provide masks to students who forget to bring their own or misplace them.
“For a while, we’ll have to have a grace period until students fully comply with (the rules), but then of course, we’ll make (masks) available as well,” interim Superintendent Dan Good said.
Board member John Barno said he supports the decision, although he doesn’t agree with all the restrictions.
“I feel very awkward because I very much support all-in, but I don’t know how I can support a resolution that I think is overstepping what we should be doing,” said Barno, who ultimately voted with the rest of the board to support the plan.
The district also will continue to offer the Bexley e-Learning Academy, its online option for students, although some extracurricular activities such as arts and supplemental lessons with instructional coaches may not be available because staff will be engaged with all-in schedules, district officials say.
For more information, visit bexleyschools.org.