Fort Frye BOE discusses fall classes | News, Sports, Jobs

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Fort Frye Local Schools board of education meets while following social distance in the Beverly-Center gymnasium Tuesday. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

BEVERLY — Fort Frye Local Schools board of education discussed similar preparations other Washington County districts have adopted over the last two weeks during its regular board meeting Tuesday.

Like Frontier Local adopted Monday, Fort Frye passed two resolutions related to coronavirus Tuesday in preparation for the fall semester, but with the formal priority and goal to still hold in-person classes at the district’s three elementary schools and the blended junior high and high school.

Superintendent Stephanie Starcher said the goal is to be in-person, but until the requirements for how to reopen are not only released by the state, potentially this week, and then interpreted by the county health department, the school system must prepare for all options, including a blended learning or remote program for some or all students, too.

“Access to broadband is a huge issue, particularly in our more rural parts of the county and our more rural roads in our district,” she told the board as she discussed what was learned from the final portion of the 2019-2020 school year which was forced to be completed via virtual access or packets.

Tuesday the board unanimously approved the blended learning and remote learning option for the school system to implement within days notice if needed this coming school year.

“But it’s important to know Ohio has had this option for schools before COVID, with a deadline to apply in July,” said Starcher.

She said the state Legislature, in response to coronavirus, added the option to also go fully remote if needed, and said specifics of how these options would be applied if needed would be a decision made at the county health department level.

Board Member Johnna Zalmanek also said the confusion when the term local control comes up blurs the lines of who at local levels makes those decisions.

Starcher said that while the board and the administration of the district maintain control over curriculum, expectations over the nine week grading periods regardless of delivery, it will be the health department that determines which requirements and how temperature checks, or face shields could be required after receiving direction from the state.

Starcher also told the board that the school system may need to push back the student start date,which Frontier also discussed Monday, to allow for more training of teachers. If that proposal were to come forward, it would be voted upon at the July 16 regular board meeting.

The board also approved a similar ordinance allowing for sports eligibility this fall for all high school students without the final grading period grades impacting grade point averages.

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