Southern, Eastern approve back to school plans

By Sarah Hawley -

MEIGS COUNTY — Two of the three school districts in Meigs County have approved “back to school” plans, while another is set to decide on Monday how students will receive their education this fall.

The Southern Local Board of Education approved a five day per week face-to-face instruction plan, while allowing for families to opt for remote learning it they so choose.

As previously reported, parents can opt for their student to take part in the remote learning, but a semester-long commitment would be required.

With the number of students anticipated to complete the remote learning, the remaining students (originally estimated to be around 70 percent) would be able to socially distance in the classrooms with masks required when social distancing is not possible, such as on buses.

In addition to the unanimous approval of the back to school plans for in-person and remote learning, the board approved a list of open enrollment students, while also closing additional open enrollment for the school year in order to properly social distance in the school.

For both options, the school year will begin on Sept. 8.

The Southern Local Board of Education will also hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 to further discuss back to school plans. The next regular meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 31.

Eastern students will be returning to school on Sept. 8 under a “Blended Learning Plan” which was approved on Thursday evening by the Eastern Local Board of Education.

The blended learning plan, explained Supt. Steve Ohlinger, means that students will be divided into two cohorts attending two days of face-to-face instruction each week with three remote learning days each week.

A full remote learning option will also be available for students who’s parents decide for whatever reason not to send them to school under the blended plan.

The current plan will be for one cohort to attend school on Monday and Thursday while the other cohort will be attending on Tuesday and Friday. Wednesday of each week will be a remote learning day for all students to allow for teachers to plan and interact with those students who have chosen the full remote option.

The blended learning plan will continue through the completion of the first grading period.

“We will continue to work with the Meigs County Health Department and reevaluate the plan as needed based upon the Governor’s Public Health Advisory System. If at the beginning of the second grading period, Meigs County is in a Yellow or Orange rating area, we will then transition to a four-day face-to-face instructional model for all students with Wednesday continuing to be a remote learning day for all students,” explained Ohlinger. “If Meigs County should go to a rating of Red, we will stay or transition to a blended model of instruction. If our rating goes to Purple, we will go entirely to a remote learning plan.”

The Meigs Local Board of Education is expected to make a decision on the district’s return to school during a special meeting on Monday evening.

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By Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.