Gahanna-Jefferson sets March 15 as target return to full-time in-person classes

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group

The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools is planning to bring students back to the classroom full time March 15.

The district sent a letter from Superintendent Steve Barrett to families Feb. 25, announcing the district is working to bring all hybrid students back with a March 15 target date.

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools administrative offices

“As you can imagine, this will require a great deal of planning and coordination, especially when it comes to transportation, food service and building operations,” Barrett said in the letter. “If this date needs to be adjusted, we will let you know as soon as possible.”

Under the guidance of medical professionals on the district’s task force and school nurses, the district has tracked the virus within its schools, studied data, looked at research and talked with districts currently operating five days a week with in-person learning, he said. 

“We have learned there has been very little spread of COVID-19 in schools in Ohio and very little spread in Gahanna,” Barrett said. “Our task force also looked at academic failure rates and the mental health needs of our students and determined it was best to recommend a full return to in-person learning.”

Distance-learning students will continue with their current teachers and schedules, according to Barrett.

He said the district cannot accommodate distance-learning students interested in returning to the full in-person model, and those changes no longer will be permitted. 

Hybrid-learning students will be enrolled automatically in full in-person learning but may choose to opt out, he said. 

Parents who are uncomfortable having their child return to full in-person learning must fill out the​ All-In Opt Out Form.​

"We have a shortage of bus drivers, so please consider driving your child to school if you are able,” Barrett said. "It will help us reduce routes and enable us to allow for more physical distancing.”

He said this has been an incredibly difficult school year, and the district appreciates families’ flexibility and support. 

"We look forward to welcoming you back,” Barrett said. “We are better together.”

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla