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Akron Public Schools Teachers Concerned with Starting Classes In Person This Fall

A photo of Patricia Shipe.
Patricia Shipe, president of the Akron Education Association, speaks at the Akron Public Schools Board of Education meeting.

One of the region’s largest school districts is considering making a big change about fall instruction. Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James said Monday the district may need to look at starting the school year entirely remote, citing concern about the rise in coronavirus cases.

The school board has not voted on a reopening plan, but several board members indicated they were in favor of the idea. The district’s original plan calls for the youngest students and those with disabilities to attend school in person five days a week and a blend of in-person and remote learning for older kids.

A survey of Akron teachers may contribute to a district decision to hold off on re-opening this fall and instead begin the year with remote instruction. At a school board session this week, teachers union president Patricia Shipe shared results of a survey the  union put out to members.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Ohio, Shipe said teachers don’t think it’s a good idea to bring students back immediately in the fall.

“We had almost half, 46 percent, of our teachers say they believe that we should be 100 percent virtual at this time,” she said.

Shipe said teachers want to start all students 100 percent online for at least the first six weeks, if not the whole semester.

The survey also found that if in-person school were to take place, 84 percent of teachers felt that all students and all staff should wear masks at all times.

Abigail Bottar is a junior at Kent State University. She is pursuing a major in political science with a concentration in American politics and minors in history and women's studies. Additionally, Abigail is starting her second semester copy editing for The Burr.