Northmont parents face deadline to choose in-person or online school

The district says it will reach out to families it doesn't hear from by Monday

Thousands of Dayton-area families are deciding whether to send their children back to school in person this fall, and one key issue is the deadline by which parents have to make their choice.

Northmont schools have one of the earlier deadlines, asking parents to decide between online and in-person education by 8 a.m. today (July 20). That’s earlier than many other deadlines, such as Centerville (July 24), Oakwood (July 27) or Dayton (Aug. 1).

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District spokeswoman Jenny Wood said Northmont set that deadline because the school district needs to work on class lists and staffing assignments based on how many students choose each option.

Some parents have asked on the district’s Facebook page what happens if they can’t decide by Monday?

Wood said school officials will reach out to families they don’t hear from. And district officials said on Facebook that they will “work to plug people into the situation that works best for the family.”

For some it may be a difficult choice, as Northmont, like most others, is still finalizing what online learning will look like.

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Northmont has released a 14-page Reset & Restart Plan with explanations of health protocols, social distancing, face coverings, busing rules and more.

The district also has a separate link to its “remote learning academy” online option, with expectations broken down by grade level for teachers, students and parents.

But Northmont has not yet announced which online platform they’ll use — for example, SchoolsPLP like Oakwood, or Apex like Kettering, or Virtual Learning Academy, like Lebanon.

Superintendent Tony Thomas said Monday that the district is logging every question posed by parents in a spreadsheet and keeping up with answering all of them.

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“We have tried to assist parents who unfortunately are being asked to make a difficult choice, but in the long run, will allow our district to start school with as little ambiguity as possible,” Thomas said.

The district’s plan says many online courses will be developed and taught by Northmont teachers, and some other courses will be from online content providers.

“The list of those courses is still being determined and will be based on enrollment and staffing availability,” the plan says.

Thomas said Northmont families gave the district a 97% approval rating on how it launched remote learning this spring under unexpected circumstances. He said the district has continued to offer more training to staff over the summer.

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