Coronavirus Updates & Distance Learning Resources

Coronavirus Updates & Distance Learning Resources

Coronavirus Updates & Distance Learning Days Resources

District Communication
March 27, 2020
Good Afternoon Bulldog Family,

Today, the Governor signed sweeping legislation addressing the Coronavirus pandemic. There are sections of the law that deal directly with schools. Below is a list of provisions that affect the scope and operations of Garfield Heights City Schools:

  • Distance learning: For the 2019-2020 school year, permits school districts, STEM schools, community schools that are not e-schools, and chartered nonpublic schools to make up through distance learning any number of days or hours necessary due to school closures as a result of the Director of Health’s order, any local board of health order, or any extension of an order regarding COVID-19. A district or school may amend its existing plan or adopt one if it does not have a plan. (Current law limits make up through distance learning to three days.)

Waiver of education requirements: For the 2019-2020 school year, due to the Director of Health’s order, any local board of health order, or any extension of an order to close all kindergarten through 12th grade schools:

  • Exempts all public and chartered nonpublic schools from administering state achievement and alternative assessments.
  • Prohibits the Department of Education from publishing and issuing ratings for overall grades, components, and individual measures on the state report card, and submitting preliminary data for report cards for school districts and buildings.
  • Establishes a safe harbor from penalties and sanctions for districts and schools based on the absence of state report card grades for the 2019-2020 school year. Includes safe harbor from: 
    • Restructuring under state law based on poor performance
    • Provisions for academic distress commissions and progressive consequences for existing commissions (but specifically retains the chief executive officers’ powers prior to the 2020-2021 school year)
    • Buildings becoming subject to the Ed Choice Scholarship
    • Determination of “challenged school districts” where new start-up community schools may be located
    • Community school closure requirements
    • Identification of school districts and buildings for federal and state targeted support and improvement
    • Restrictions to which community schools may change sponsors
  • Exempts schools from retaining students in the third grade under the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee, unless the school principal and student’s reading teacher determine the student is not reading at grade level.
  • Permits public and private schools to grant a diploma to any student on track to graduate and for whom the principal, in consultation with teachers and counselors, determines that the student has successfully completed the student’s high school curriculum or individualized education program at the time of the Director’s order.
  • Declares the General Assembly’s intent that public and private schools continue to find ways to keep students actively engaged in learning opportunities for the remainder of the school year, and to grant students who need in-person instructional experiences to complete diploma requirements or career-technical education programs access to school facilities as soon as reasonably possible after the Director of Health permits access, even if the last instructional day of the school year has passed.
  • Prohibits the use of the value-added progress dimension from the 2019-2020 school year to measure student learning attributable to teachers for their performance evaluations.
  • For community school sponsor ratings: (a) prohibits the Department from issuing a rating for the academic performance component; (b) prohibits the use of that rating for the overall rating; and (c) prohibits the Department from finding a sponsor out of compliance with laws and rules for any requirement for an action that should have while schools were closed.
  • Permits the Superintendent of Public Instruction to waive the requirement to complete any report based on data from assessments that were to be administered in the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Delivery of services to special needs students: For the duration of the Director of Health’s order, a local board of health order, or extension of any order closing schools, but not beyond December 1, 2020, permits licensees of the following boards to provide services electronically or via telehealth communication to children who receive services through their resident school districts or under the Autism Scholarship or the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship:
  • Ohio Speech and Hearing Professionals Board; Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board; State Board of Psychology; Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board; State Board of Education, with respect to intervention specialists.

The above provisions give the Garfield Heights City Schools flexibility in educating our students while obeying the Governor’s stay at home order. Should the Governor decide to cancel in person school beyond April 6, the district will:

  • Reach out to potential graduating seniors and work with them to graduate on time with a diploma
  • Establish and alternate date and venue for graduation and for prom
  • Establish an extended plan to educate students in pre-k through 3
  • For students in grades 4-12, continue utilizing the Google Classroom platform for education as long as the stay at home order is in place
  • Continue, during all regularly schedule school days, to serve hot nutritious meals in the “grab and go” format at the middle school
  • Continue to regularly communicate with the community regarding district operations.
  • Continue to be a resource for the students and parents to ensure continuity of education.

The Garfield Heights City Schools is committed to each student and family in our community. We will continue to maintain relationships, advance educational opportunities, and help feed our students.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Take care of yourselves and of one another!


Christopher G. Hanke




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