Youngstown Schools moves up date to return to in-person learning

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Students and staff will be required to wear masks and desk shields are being installed

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Beginning the week of March 15, students in the Youngstown City School District will have the option of returning to in-class learning on certain days.

Previously, district officials announced students would begin returning to the classroom on March 23.

CEO Justin Jennings said he has not talked with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine about his change in plans. In exchange for getting COVID-19 vaccines, the governor wanted students back in the classrooms — in some form — by March 1.

Pre-K through fifth grade will hold in-person classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sixth through 12th graders would be on Mondays and Fridays.

Wednesdays will be reserved for teacher office hours, professional development and deep cleaning the building.

Jennings said the plan changed after he talked with community leaders and other superintendents in urban districts in Ohio.

“Just some community conversations, conversations with some other superintendents across the state, what they’re doing. Some people I trust, so we just wanted to make the right decision and make sure we do what is right and that’s what we’re doing. We’ve stepped up even some more of our safety precautions to make sure that we’re cautious,” he said.

Students and staff will be required to wear masks and desk shields are being installed. Floors and seating areas will also be marked for social distancing.

Jennings said as long as everyone is mindful of CDC guidelines, everyone should still be able to stay safe.

“We will continue to monitor the virus situation and make adjustments if required,” he said.

Surveys will be sent out to families to indicate their preferences.

All students at Rayen Early College Middle School will return to in-class learning on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning the same week.

No parents or guardians will be allowed in the buildings.

Busing will be addressed once the district knows how many students will return to in-person learning.

“We have some assistance with our busing as well, which was one thing we were worried about,” Jennings said.

The district will still have food distributions on Wednesdays.

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