Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education special meeting 1-28-2021
JANUARY 28, 2021
- Transition to hybrid learning
- Moving to in-person board meetings
Board President James Posch and members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright were present. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. and adjourned at approximately 9:40 p.m.
Mr. Posch recognized all district parents and families for their contributions toward the education of the students during the pandemic and area small businesses for being flexible with their work force.
Transition to hybrid learning
Recommendations: Superintendent Kirby presented her recommendations for transitioning to a hybrid learning model, with students phasing into hybrid instruction the week of February 15. She reviewed current COVID data for Cuyahoga County and neighboring counties, Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) and CDC guidance; and percentages of Ohio school districts providing five-day in-person instruction (46 percent), hybrid instruction (36 percent) and fully remote instruction (17 percent). The CCBH has advised that it is safe for districts to begin transition to in-person or hybrid instruction, moving at a pace that works for each district’s ability to comply with CDC and Ohio Department of Health mitigation strategies.
She introduced guest speakers Michael I. Smith, MD, MSCE, and professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases, Duke University; Vanessa F. Maier, MD, MPH, and family health practitioner at MetroHealth; and Suzanne Hrusch, MPH, RS, and program manager at CCBH. Dr. Maier and Ms. Hrusch have regularly presented about COVID matters at the Cuyahoga County school board presidents’ meetings. The speakers elaborated on data and safety protocols for in-person instruction, including winter sports and performing arts. They particularly emphasized the protection that masks provide, including against newly discovered COVID variants.
Discussion: The presenters and board members acknowledged that, with all but one Ohio school district having agreed to return to in-person instruction by March 1, the only course of action was to transition toward reopening and to put all necessary protocols in place. Mr. Posch spoke of the need for administration and staff to allow families the flexibility to change options during the period of hybrid instruction. He also noted that the CHUH district is among the last to move away from all remote instruction and will be able to learn from the experiences of others. Ms. Lewis acknowledged the complexity of the reopening schedule and its logistics but suggested that, if parents focus primarily on the schedule for each of their children, it will be manageable. Mr. Heintz acknowledged that some members of the teaching staff are uncomfortable with reopening and expressed his discomfort in requiring them to move forward, but said that he did so with confidence that the district is doing everything possible to keep them safe.
Approval: The board approved the superintendent’s recommendation for the district to transition to hybrid instruction according to the schedule set forth in her presentation.
Moving to in-person board meetings
Mr. Posch asked to talk about moving to in-person board meetings. The board members were in general agreement with this, and Mr. Posch asked that the staff work on the legal issues, logistics, and protocols so that the Feb. 16 meeting might be in-person.
Upcoming meetings include a regular meeting on Feb. 2 and a special meeting on Feb. 16. Both sessions commence at 7 p.m. and will be held virtually. Virtual meetings are streamed directly on the district’s YouTube channel and recorded for later viewing. They can also be viewed at: https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/8f442366-4bbd-4160-aaeb-ece0f7ab6534
LWV Observer: Kathy Petrey.