Northmont joins list of schools starting the year online

Northmont is the latest school district to switch to online classes for the start of the 2020-21 school year, amid ongoing coronavirus concerns.

District officials announced Monday night that the first day of classes is being moved back to Sept. 1, and classes will be online at least for the slightly abbreviated first quarter through Oct. 21.

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The move came hours after Northmont announced that a second school employee had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Current data indicate the number of COVID-19 cases in our community are increasing and continue to impact our own employees who are essential to the reopening of school,” the district said in a statement. “Based on the recommendation from Public Health Dayton-Montgomery County and the Governor’s Level 3 indicator for our county, we will begin the school year remotely.”

Neither employee who tested positive had contact with students, but both had been in contact with fellow school employees, according to Northmont officials.

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Northmont joined more than a half-dozen local districts, including Dayton, Trotwood and Huber Heights, in starting the school year online. Montgomery County’s public health department recommended Friday that all county schools start online for health reasons.

On the district’s Facebook announcement, hundreds of parents and community members asked questions and posed concerns, ranging from the quality of remote education, to whether fall sports will happen, to how working parents are supposed to adjust.

Regarding the quality of education, district officials said it will be “much more structured” than last spring, as teachers have been working on it all summer, and additional training will take place between now and Sept. 1. The sports and extracurricular decisions hadn’t been announced as of Tuesday morning.

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Northmont staff acknowledged how hard it will be for families, saying they made the announcement now “to give working families time to make arrangements for students being home during the day.”

“This was an extremely difficult decision because we know the strain this puts on our families but the district must ask families to make arrangements for remote learning …” the district statement said. “We know this is a burden to many families, but please respect this difficult decision as we look to keep our community as safe as possible in these difficult times.”

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