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Reopening Report Card: 3News' Romney Smith examines the options Northeast Ohio school districts are exploring

Today's story is the first in our series regarding how schools may look this fall.

PARMA, Ohio — Getting off the bus and walking into school will feel different this fall, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Parma City Schools Superintendent Charles Smialek says the school system is leaning toward a hybrid of in-person and online education.

"Potentially cohort A [would] come in for maybe a Monday and a Tuesday, they’re off on Wednesday, [then] a second cohort comes in after we’ve had a change to clean the building," Smialek told 3News.

But there are other ideas, as well: In Willoughby-Eastlake, an option being explored is a normal five-day-a-week in-person schedule.

"While we know that plan is not best for all students, parents will have the option to enroll in our online or virtual school," Superintendent Steve Thompson said.

Both districts will have a five-day-a week-virtual academy. Officials say it's necessary to have an online option in case all students and teachers are forced to go home due to a second wave of COVID-19.

"Over the last few days, the coronavirus has been peaking in Ohio and peaking across the nation," Thompson admitted. "So I don’t know how that will change attitudes and perceptions of returning to school."

For now, school systems are pushing forward with planning and awaiting Gov. Mike DeWine's announcement about schools this Thursday.

"Once the governor comes out in terms of what his guidelines look like...Our foot will be on the gas pedal in terms of planning, you know, based upon those guidelines," Smialek said.

3News will watch the governor's back to school news conference and bring you the very latest on the statewide guidelines once they’re announced. We also invite you to join us weekly for our Reopening Report Card series.


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