Reynoldsburg students to start Aug. 24 in fully remote instruction

KELLEY YOUMAN
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ThisWeek group

Reynoldsburg City Schools students will start the school year in a fully virtual format and school will start Aug. 24, a reversal from a back-to-school plan earlier approved by the board of education.

The board voted unanimously during an emergency meeting July 30 that was livestreamed on the district’s website, reyn.org.

Under the revised calendar, the 2020-21 school year will start as originally scheduled, before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic halted in-person instruction in March.

Students are scheduled to end the year May 28, 2021, according to the calendar approved by the board.

The board on July 21 approved its Responsible Restart Plan, which called for a hybrid model of at-home and in-person instruction if Franklin County is at Level 3 on the state’s four-level virus-rating scale, but Superintendent Melvin Brown cautioned that a number of factors would be taken into consideration.

Although portions of Fairfield and Licking counties are in the district, Franklin County’s alerts are cited in the district plan.

“Due to the positivity rates, case counts and trend lines show that it is not conducive to return to school in an ‘all-in’ or ‘hybrid’ model, FCPH recommends that all schools in Franklin County begin school by operating remotely. Therefore, Reynoldsburg City Schools will start the 2020-21 academic school year in a 100 percent ‘all-digital’ remote learning model,” Brown wrote in a July 30 letter to parents.

On July 21, the board voted to push the first day of school back to Sept. 8 and approved a calendar that had students in class through June 10, with the hope that students could be brought back at least on a part-time basis.

Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola on July 29 sent a letter to Franklin County superintendents recommending districts start the school year remotely and cancel extracurricular activities, including sports and band.

Mazzola addressed the board July 30 and said that the recommendations were an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus and are the “best effort” to return students to school buildings sometime this school year.

The district’s Remote Learning Plan, also approved July 21, says lessons under the hybrid and fully remote models will be delivered online and “through thoughtful offline lessons that encourage students to explore the natural world and engage in interdisciplinary and artistic hands-on learning.”

Under the remote model, all students will be given Chromebooks for school and home use.

According to the plan, student log-ins to online platforms will be tracked. Students will be expected to engage in face-to-face learning on assigned “at school” days and complete independent work on “at home” days, as assigned by teachers.

Reynoldsburg plans to provide internet access up to 100 yards away from the parking lots of some district buildings and 10 buses with Wi-Fi access are available to be deployed once the school year begins.

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