Youngstown schools CEO gets mixed reaction on re-opening plan

Local News

Not everyone supports CEO Justin Jennings' plan to re-open Youngstown schools

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – CEO Justin Jennings announced yesterday the Youngstown Schools would not meet Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s March 1 deadline of returning students to the classroom.

City Councilwoman Basia Adamczak, who understands politics, has two children in the Youngstown Schools.

“Personally, I’m fine with it. If he feels they won’t be fully prepared to return by that date, then I support his decision to wait until they are fully prepared,” she said.

Jennings explained that the CDC last week recommended that in high-risk counties such as Mahoning County, elementary students should do in-person hybrid learning, and middle and high schools should be remote.

“Our plan was to meet the deadline or be as close to it as we possibly could,” Jennings said. “We just wanted to be consistent with what we’ve been doing all year, and that’s making sure we pay attention to the experts and what the scientists are saying.”

Eleven days ago, and nine days after the staff of Youngstown schools started vaccinations, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine admonished school systems that weren’t going to meet the March 1 deadline because the state, as promised, had provided the vaccines.

“I did reach out to him and kind of had a conversation with him and, of course, he wasn’t happy with the decision we were making at that time. I don’t think he’s come back from that, but I think he softened a little bit to kind of gain an understanding,” Jennings said.

School Board President Ron Shadd says if Jennings would have kept both the community and the governor better informed, there would have been less of a concern about meeting the deadline.

“The first thing, I would say that there should have been better communication. This conversation is not for February. It’s a conversation for 2020 at any point during that time when remote learning had come about,” Shadd said.

Dan Tierney, press secretary for Governor DeWine, issued the following statement:

The K-12 Vaccination Program was an optional program. The decision to participate in the program was made by each individual school district. We are hopeful that our recent outreach efforts will be successful in convincing school districts to honor the agreements they signed. We will continue to monitor this situation as we get closer to March 1st.

Dan Tierney, press secretary for Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

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