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Changes unveiled as Centerville, Kettering, Oakwood schools set reopen dates

Centerville, Kettering and Oakwood school districts have all selected dates for the return of in-person instruction. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF
Centerville, Kettering and Oakwood school districts have all selected dates for the return of in-person instruction. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

All students immediately reporting to classrooms and younger ones eating lunch in them are among the changes planned for Oakwood schools when in-person instruction returns amid COVID-19.

Centerville, Kettering and Oakwood school districts have all selected dates for the return of in-person instruction. All students and staff should wear face coverings, local public health officials have recommended, even if Montgomery County is lifted from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Level 3 designation involving “a very high exposure and spread” of the coronavirus.

Centerville expects later this week to release details of plans for its target start date of Aug. 24, according to that district. Kettering’s board of education Tuesday night approved a calendar to start classes either Aug. 17, Aug. 18 or Aug. 24, depending on the grade level.

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That district is also looking to finalize plans this week, said district Spokeswoman Kari Basson.

Oakwood schools this week announced a start date of Aug. 17, the same as Dayton Public Schools.

Oakwood’s plan to return includes more than a dozen pages of guidelines, practices and protocols. It states that “face-to-face” classroom time may be limited due to “multiple factors,” Superintendent Kyle Ramey said.

Those factors include the availability of staff and “if we have an outbreak of some sort,” he added.

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“We’re trying to be as comprehensive as we possibly can and anticipate some of the questions and some of the things that are out there,” Ramey said about his district’s plan.

In Oakwood, “the face-to-face option has three components, ranging from full-day instruction in the building to half-day instruction to off-site instruction,” according to district Spokeswoman Traci Hale.

In addition, “blended learning strategies will allow instruction to transition between full-time face-to-face, part-time face-to-face and off-site instruction as guided by the Public Health Advisory Alert System,” the plan states.

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Online instruction “will not mirror full course offerings of face-to-face instruction” and be designed and delivered by Schools PLP, according to the district.

When reporting for school in-person, Oakwood students will be required to immediately go to class, according to the new guidelines.

“We want to make sure that our students get where they need to be and try to limit that exposure – the opportunity for exposure – as best we can. I know kids like to hang out,” Ramey said.

“We’re not going to be able to do some of that like we have in the past – at least right now,” he added.

Students will still be allowed to go home for lunch. But those in grades 1-6 who do not will be required to eat in a classroom.

“Lunch is a challenge and we have some space issues here in Oakwood,” Ramey said. “Our cafeterias are pretty limited in the space and the ability to spread out.

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“When we go back to full time we anticipate asking our students to bring a sack lunch with them” to “keep them in their space in terms of trying to avoid larger gatherings and try to limit that exposure as best we can,” he added.

Centerville, Kettering and Oakwood officials have all said they plan to offer both in-person and online instruction.

“Our current plan is to start the school year on a blended model,” Centerville City Schools Community Relations Specialist Sarah Swan said in an email. “Families who are uncomfortable returning to school will be able to choose an online learning option.”

Kettering’s board of education voted to adopt a 2020-21 calendar that includes first days of school of Aug. 17 for grades 1-10, Aug. 18 for grades 11-12 and Aug. 24 for K and pre-K students, records show.

“The later start will give us the opportunity to provide professional development opportunities surrounding a very different school year than they are used to for our staff on Aug. 10-14,” Basson said in an email.

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Oakwood changes

•Blended learning strategies will allow instruction to transition between full-time face-to-face, part-time face-to-face and off-site instruction as guided by the Public Health Advisory Alert System.

•Students are encouraged to carry labeled water bottles. No water fountains will be in service.

•Students will face the same direction in classrooms, to the extent possible.

•Outside activities will be strongly encouraged to promote social distancing.

•Students will not be required to dress for physical education to minimize locker room interactions and the class will be held outside whenever possible.

•Students are encouraged to pack a lunch and sack lunches will be available for purchase.

•Food deliveries will not be permitted at school for students or staff during the school day.

SOURCE: Oakwood City Schools.