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  Public Schools Cancel In-Class Instruction Every Wednesday Through Jan. 13  
  School Superintendent: In-class instruction five days a week “will collapse if we keep this system going.”:   October 29, 2020 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      In tandem with members of the Boardman Spartan football team’s coaching staff; as well as one student-athlete testing COVID-19 positive last week, Boardman Local School announced the system will not have in-class instruction on Wednesdays, beginning Nov. 4 through Jan. 13.
      Boardman High School Principal Cindy Fernback issued a letter via social media on Oct. 19, advising “Three off-staff coaches tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to five, off-staff coaches who have tested positive.
      “We are cooperating with the [county] health department for conducting contact tracing, and as a result of initial contact tracing, we have quarantined an additional four members of the coaching staff stemming from one incident of viewing film over the weekend. The sport impacted is varsity football, and we are cancelling varsity and junior varsity games against Chaney.”
      A day later, Principal Fernback sent another letter, advising ‘We have recently received information that a senior at Boardman High School has tested positive for COVID-19.
      “We have quarantined four additional students primarily related to school events occurring outside of school operations, as well as one athletic practice (ed. note: reportedly boys soccer) We do not expect any additional quarantine at this time.”
      In announcing there will be no in-class instruction in the district on Wednesdays through Jan. 13, 2021, Supt. Tim Saxton in-class instruction five days a week “will collapse if we keep this system going.”
      He said no in-class instruction on Wednesdays “will allow the staff to catch-up on the massive amount of communication coming from students and their families.
      “To be able to collaborate with their colleagues to make sure we are aligning their instruction.”
      The superintendent also said the change “will allow the staff to meet the demands of school instruction” as well as “allow for additional, enhanced daily cleaning cycles for classrooms.”
      Saxton said the decision to move to remote-only instruction on Wednesdays was “not easy. We are aware this places an additional burden on working parents..”
      He indicated during the pandemic, school officials “knew we would be tasked with flexibility...to provide opportunities for students.”
      In addition to the positive COVID-19 cases at the high school, the district says two staff members and one student have tested positive at West Blvd. Elementary School.
      A survey conducted by Boardman Local Schools prior to announcing the remote-only Wednesday instruction drew 1,176 replies in which 514 of those responding, or 44 per cent, said no ‘in-person’ changes were needed; and only 5 per cent, of 56 respondents, favored switching to remote learning; and 889 respondents do not favor such change; while another 226, or 18 per cent, were unsure of switching to remote learning.
      COVID-19 Updates
      On Mon., Oct. 26, high school principal Fernback notified “BHS Families” that two seniors had tested positive for COVID-19, and “at this point we have quarantined approximately 20 students, advising them to stay home and not return to school until Nov. 5.”
      On Tues., Oct. 20, Center Intermediate School Principal Randall Ebie issued a letter stating a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19.
      “The teacher has not been in the building since Fri., Oct. 16 and has remained out of school with minor symptoms while awaiting test results...No students need to be quarantined at this time.”
 
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