Chardon, OH (December 2, 2020) – The Chardon Local School District holds the safety and security of students and staff as its highest priorities. In line with this commitment, the district has been working closely with the Geauga County Health Department since the spring for guidance in planning for a safe 2020-21 school year. The district’s administrative team remains thankful for this ongoing partnership amidst the evolving COVID pandemic.
“With careful planning and implementation of COVID safety protocols in our schools, we have been pleased to consistently offer in-person instruction for approximately 80 percent of our students while providing virtual classes for the 20 percent of our students who have elected for our remote instructional delivery model,” said Superintendent Michael Hanlon. “However, as we have witnessed by recent events in 2020, things can change very quickly.”
While Chardon Schools’ positive COVID-19 cases generally continue to be traced to exposures outside of school, the district has recently seen an increase in cases and quarantines with its students and staff. As these numbers continue to grow, building operations have become more challenging.
Substitute staffing levels in all job positions are extremely low, which could soon impact the district’s ability to effectively and consistently maintain in-person instruction.
“In order to best respond to these challenges and maintain the high level of academic instruction that is our expectation and tradition, the district will be transitioning all grade levels, Pre-Kindergarten through 12, to a full remote learning model, effective December 7,” said Hanlon.
In order to ensure schedule continuity for families and staff, Chardon Schools plans to operate the remote learning educational model through December 18. The district’s winter break will remain as planned for the timeframe of December 21 through January 4 during which time the district will be assessing the return to in-person learning tentatively planned for January 5.
The superintendent communicated the upcoming district-wide shift to remote learning to
families and staff via email earlier today, including expectations for virtual classes and school-specific information and resources to help students and their families plan for the remote instructional model.
Geauga County Health Commissioner Thomas Quade voiced his firm support for Chardon Schools’ decision.
“I am writing in my capacity as Geauga County’s Health Commissioner to express my full support of your decision to temporarily move your district to a full remote learning model,” said Quade in a communication to the district. “I know this is a difficult decision to make given the weighty consequences in both directions. Public health professionals recognize and value the many benefits to students of learning in a structured congregate setting with in-person professional educators to provide instruction and support in so many ways. Well educated youth are far more likely to lead healthy lives.”
While the vast majority of Chardon PreK through Grade 12 students will be moved to the remote learning model, some specific special education and/or vocational programs may continue in an in-person format. In addition, students in the district’s virtual (Blue Model) classes will remain virtual learners for the entire first semester with no changes to this program.
“For the remainder of this week, all in-person students are continuing in their current instructional model,” added Hanlon. “This provides students the opportunity to bring home personal belongings, textbooks, technology and materials and time to review procedures with teachers and administrators in preparation for the upcoming transition.”
Chardon Schools’ goal is to return to in-person learning as soon as practical after winter break.
“The sustained focus of all Hilltopper staff and students on the safety practices that have been of utmost priority since the beginning of the COVID pandemic will aid in helping us return to the school setting as soon as possible,” said Hanlon. “We remain thankful for the patience and understanding of our families as our district team continues to evaluate the safest and best ways to meet the needs of our students and staff.”