Centerville plans in-person classes amid COVID-19; Oakwood calls start ‘smooth’

As one of the largest area school districts plans to have students return to in-person instruction, a smaller one that has had face-to-face education amid COVID-19 since August reports a “smooth start.”

Centerville City Schools intends next week to unveil more details about having students back in class for the second quarter, the first time since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine shut down schools in March because of the coronavirus.

Centerville is one of about 10 Montgomery County districts – Dayton and Kettering among them – that opted to begin the school year with fully remote learning.

“Throughout our planning for the 2020-21 school year, we have said that our goal is to bring students back into classrooms as soon as we can,” said Sarah Swan, the district’s community relations specialist, in an email to the Dayton Daily News.

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“As we look toward the second quarter, it is time for us to implement our plans to reopen school buildings to our students,” Swan added.

The district is finalizing details and will be sharing more information at Monday night’s board of education meeting, she said. Its second quarter starts Oct. 19.

Centerville officials said they plan to employ both in-person and remote learning for the district with the second highest student enrollment in the county.

A similar choice was made by Oakwood when it began the school year Aug. 24.

Since then, “face-to-face instruction has gone well,” Oakwood Superintendent Kyle Ramey said in an email.

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Students, families and staff have “made it such a smooth start,” Ramey added.

He noted that “our administration has discussed all the options” and wants "to continue to move toward full-time face-to-face instruction.”

For the “foreseeable future, we intend to stay in the current face-to-face half-day mode and offer remote instructions for families who believe that is the best option for them,” he said.

Oakwood has announced three positive COVID-19 tests among staff and students, and all were quarantined, officials said.

The district is working with DeWine’s office, the Ohio Department of Health and Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County “to understand and influence practices and recommendations as they continue to shift and move,” Ramey said.

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“Striking that proper balance between educational needs and public safety is the line we have been asked to walk with a multitude of ever-changing recommendations, guidelines and data,” he added. “Our students and staff have been safe and have been moving forward academically therefore we believe things are going well.”

Centerville schools in early August announced plans to start the school year with remote learning only after initially seeking to offer a hybrid plan.

Superintendent Tom Henderson said the switch to fully remote learning was “the best, safest” option.

“I want our staff to feel good about coming back, and I want our students to be healthy when they come back,” he said at the time. “And more than anything, I want to open and stay open. I don’t want to open and close and open and close.”

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AREA DISTRICTS

WITH FULLY

REMOTE STARTS

•Dayton

•Centerville

•Kettering

•Huber Heights*

•Northmont

•West Carrollton

•Trotwood

•Northridge

•Jefferson Twp.

•Tecumseh

•Yellow Springs

•Dayton Regional STEM School (in Kettering)

•Charter schools in Dayton area -- DECA schools, Emerson, Pathway, North Dayton, Klepinger, Dayton Leadership Academy and Horizon Science Academies.

*Recently started returning to school in a staggered fashion.

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