Lebanon will not offer online learning next school year

ajc.com

Starting this fall, Lebanon City Schools will not offer remote learning as it returns to full-time, in-person teaching during the 2021-22 school year.

District officials said the decision was made after close consideration of parent survey data, examination of the social/emotional needs of students, and in order to provide the most effective learning environment.

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In the letter sent to parents, officials said the district learned much about remote education over the last year and a half of school. Those lessons learned from this experience and will help refine and upgrade the digital elements of its in-seat programming, the district said.

District officials said during the 2020-21 school year significant concerning elements were found regarding the social isolation that some remote students are experiencing. Officials said this isolation reinforces the importance of the social/emotional relationship component of in-seat learning.

In addition, concerns regarding sufficient academic engagement and rigor to support student achievement, while also maintaining appropriate, equitable and accountable attendance requirements, officials said.

District officials said the issue will be revisited, if needed, whether offering a remote option is appropriate.

Families currently enrolled in the full-time virtual classes will automatically be enrolled for in-seat program for the 2021-22 school year, officials said.

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Other Warren County districts are exploring the same question and some school boards will be making the decision to return to normal pre-pandemic operations.

Tom Isaacs, superintendent of the Warren County Educational Service Center, said it’s the desire of the superintendents in Warren County not to offer remote learning for elementary students. He said remote learning would be available for students in grades seven through 12 who have a special or exceptional needs.

“It’s been a disaster for young children and hasn’t been good for older students either,” he said. “Students do better with face to face learning.”

Isaacs said the ESC will offer an online package for local districts, but as of Wednesday, no districts has made a request.

Officials in the Springboro, Wayne and Franklin school districts said they have had continuing discussions on the issue and expect to make decisions in the coming weeks.

Franklin Superintendent Michael Sander said while the district has the technology, staffing enough teachers to balance out class sizes has been a challenge as teacher are teaching 100% in-person or 100% remotely. He said that results in varying class sizes for teachers, with some having more and some having less.

Sander expects to make the recommendation to return to all in person learning at the boards May 10 meeting. He said there could be exceptions that would be based on a case by case basis.