Cuyahoga County Goes Red, Lakewood Schools Stay Remote
This past Thursday, Cuyahoga County was placed into Public Emergency Level 3, red status in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System which is described as "Very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible."
Due to this change, Lakewood City Schools postponed the October 19th partial, in-person return to school buildings, notifying families that PreK through 12th grade students will remain in their current instructional model to start the second quarter.
While some LCS families accepted this news with relief as it has become obvious that COVID19 cases are climbing, others were frustrated that the long-awaited plans for students to be back in the buildings, albeit in the hybrid mode, were postponed.
At Monday’s Board of Ed meeting, the Lakewood Civic Auditorium was full of (socially distanced) attendees who were there to make their concerns known.
The crowd was divided into three groups: those who wanted to encourage the District to open the schools, those who wanted to support the District’s decision to stay remote, and make sure they stuck to it, and the Lakewood Teacher’s Association who wanted to make sure their recently signed MOU was honored. The first group highlighted the difficulties of remote learning, the toll it has been taking on families, and the example the District is setting by “being scared” of the virus. Several people made it clear that they thought that Lakewood students were up to the challenge of staying safe in the buildings by following safety protocols that other school districts have been using.
The second group praised the Districts decision to stick with remote learning because it guarantees the health and safety of the students, staff and families, saying that this way will lead to the desired goal for all: the day when the virus is fully under control and everyone can return to school together.
Members of the LTA were there to make clear the commitment the teachers have to educating their students and to make sure that their own health was protected.
One audience member addressedthe 'Return to the buildings' crowd saying that it was not the parents who would have to come in, but the teachers, and that it was “remarkably easy to volunteer someone else for danger.”
While strong opinions were expressed, everyone in attendance was respectful and were clearly concerned about the community as a whole.
Afterwards Lakewood parent, Ahmie Yeung, who attended with her husband and son had this to say: “I feel the need to publicly acknowledge the grace and compassion I saw on display with our elected school board tonight, and especially the current board president. Also deep gratitude to all the educators who showed up tonight… I am so grateful to live in a community that puts the needs of the whole over the wants of a few. I believe in our abilities as adults to find creative solutions & work-arounds to the unsatisfactory aspects of this situation if we can all keep our selfish aspects in check. Everyone in that room or watching the video or taking the time to write in absolutely wants what is best for the kids in our community. Figuring out how to best achieve that will take us working together in innovative ways. The children are watching.”