While this year could be described as anything but “normal,” the Bay Village City School District saw a little bit of normal come back this week.

Students and faculty returned to school Monday during a “slow launch start” for modified in-person learning after beginning the semester online Sept. 1. In-person learning will last for two weeks and on Sept. 24, officials will determine whether it will continue.

“While our eLearning method has been effective, when it comes to building strong relationships with our students, in-person learning is the best way to do so,” said Superintendent Jodie Hausmann.

The decision made on Sept. 8 to start in-person learning was based on positive trends from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. School officials looked at the number of cases and rate of spread in the county, which has been steadily declining this month. Hausmann said the district also looked at local data for Bay Village. The city had 123 confirmed cases and one case related to the school district as of Sept. 4, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

“We spent a lot of time looking for trends in the data we were provided,” she said. “For example, the number of cases in the county has been declining for three weeks. Based on information like that, we decided it was safe to move forward with in-person instruction.”

The district is using a hybrid model to start. This means half of its 2,422 students will return to class for two days while the others continue online learning; after two days the students switch. On Friday, the district will switch to its “All-In” learning model and bring students back full time. Students who opted for online learning this semester will remain at home. Students and faculty can expect a number of things to ensure their safety during class. They include scheduled hand-washing periods, mandatory masks and socially distanced desks with barriers around them. The district will also use gyms, cafeterias and outdoor spaces for class.

In an effort to increase transparency between the district and its families, the district also launched “Rocket Restart.” The program aims to help families and students stay in the loop this year and provide up-to-date statistics about COVID19 in the county. Those interested can go to restart.bayschoolsohio.org for more information.

Last month, the district announced it would begin the school year via online learning based on a recommendation by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health that schools begin the semester online for the first nine weeks.

While it’s still uncertain how the remainder of the semester will look, Hausmann is confident the schools are prepared.

“We developed a flexible model that will allow us to take this pandemic one step at a time,” she said.

Contact this reporter at akamczyc@westlifenews.com or 216-307-6614.

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