Reynoldsburg City Schools uncertain on January return for in-person classes

Paul Comstock
ThisWeek
Reynoldsburg City Schools

Reynoldsburg City Schools will look at a number of factors as it decides whether to return to a hybrid-attendance model in January. 

The district switched to all-remote, at-home learning Nov. 23 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

In a Nov. 12 letter to families, Superintendent Melvin J. Brown said the virus was not spreading among students. Instead, he wrote, the switch to all-remote was made because of COVID-19's accelerated spread in the general community, with the city of Reynoldsburg showing the area's highest infection rate. 

As a result, he wrote, "We are beginning to face staffing shortages, and it may only be a matter of time before we can no longer operate our buildings." 

Under the hybrid model, both remote learning and classrooms were used for instruction. 

Remote learning will continue until Dec. 18, the last day before the holiday break. 

"Throughout December, we will continue to monitor the local data and we will assess how students will return to school after the break in January," Brown wrote. 

The district and Franklin County Public Health are in constant communication, said Valerie Wunder, district communications director. 

The district bases its pandemic-related decisions on several factors, she said, and not solely on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which is used to gauge the virus' spread in different counties. 

"One of the reasons we made this decision is because we know the holidays are an important time for families and there may or will need to be quarantine protocols in place," Wunder said. 

In the coming weeks, the district will work to determine what a January return will look like, she said. 

"We are constantly monitoring the numbers, speaking with health officials and our staff,” Wunder said. “We want to see our kids back in school. We miss them. But the safety and health of our staff and students, both mentally and physically, is our No. 1 priority. 

"No one likes this situation, but our community has been amazing in its support, as we are literally preparing for and executing something that has never been experienced." 

She said district officials believe if conditions allow a return to hybrid learning, the switch can take place smoothly.   

"Fortunately, our staff and students have shown great resilience and flexibility during this unusual time," she said. "We started in a virtual setting, went to hybrid in October and moved back to virtual (Nov. 23). We would like to give our staff and students as much notice as possible, but we have proven we can make the switch quite quickly if needed.” 

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