Education

photo of empty classroom
ASHTON MARRA / WCPN

School districts across the region are working to start the school year safely amid rising numbers of COVID-19.

Summit County Public Health this week recommended schools conduct the first 9 weeks of classes online. But the health department acknowledged that in-person classes might still be needed for students with disabilities who might require greater supports.

A photo of the University of Akron.
MARK AREHART / WKSU

The University of Akron’s Board of Trustees passed a budget Wednesday that includes 178 layoffs; 96 of the layoffs are union faculty.

Some of Ohio’s k-12 school districts will hold online classes at first, while others are trying a hybrid of remote and in person learning. Education leaders say it’s important the schools have proper precautions in place when they do reopen to students. The state’s largest teacher’s union says schools that reopen for in-person classes need to take a lot of costly precautions. 

For Tom Grace, the events of May 4, 1970 have been a major part of his life- ever since he was wounded when the National Guard opened fire on anti-war protestors and killed four at Kent State University in Ohio.

But this year, with the racial justice movement again front-and-center, he says the events resonate even more than they otherwise would, in a 50th anniversary year.

summit health chart
SUMMIT COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH

With cases of COVID-19 still rising across the county, Summit County Public Health on Monday recommended that schools conduct classes online this fall rather than in person.

The health department also issued guidance to help schools respond to the pandemic.

Ohio State University’s student union reopened Monday, nearly five months after closing near the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hannah Bragg on Computer
JON NUNGESSER / WKSU

While some Ohio schools continue planning to welcome students for in person learning in a few weeks, others have decided to start the school year by teaching students remotely. The state is opening applications today to help districts pay for distance learning technology.

A photo of the University of Akron.
MARK AREHART / WKSU

The University of Akron’s faculty union rejected a contract that included concessions and layoffs. Out of 343 votes cast, those against outnumbered those for by just 25 votes.

The school year is supposed to resume in just a few short weeks, but with the threat of a pandemic still looming large many families don’t know what to expect. 

Schools, meanwhile, are caught between the dire warnings of health officials and the pleading of parents who say they can no longer play teacher at home – including Northeast Ohio’s 108 Catholic schools.

Frank O’Linn, the superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, told ideastream that at this point, reopening plans are being left to the schools themselves. 

A photo of the Kent campus.
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

A Kent State student has filed a class action lawsuit against the university for not fully refunding tuition and fees after in-person classes were canceled in spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The complaint, filed June 17 by junior finance major Caitlyn Waitt in the Ohio Court of Claims, states the university violated its contract with students by not reimbursing them for tuition and mandatory fees despite canceling face-to-face classes.

Rachel Busse took a break from her job as a nurse to care for her four children this spring during Illinois' stay-at-home order. She juggled entertaining her toddler while coordinating e-learning for her three elementary school-aged children.

That meant managing three virtual classrooms and teachers, each with a different online platform.

"They all just had their different ways of putting things together the best they could in short notice," she said. "But it was a lot for me to coordinate for all three kids."

The state’s largest teachers’ union says schools in areas where coronavirus poses a threat should plan to start online this fall. 

A photo of the University of Akron.
MARK AREHART / WKSU

The University of Akron is facing an August 3 deadline for contract negotiations with the professor’s union.  If the vote fails, the deal goes to arbitration for a final ruling.  The two sides are at odds after more than 170 staff were laid off, including nearly 100 union workers.  We spoke with the head of both sides: university president Gary Miller and union president Pam Schulze. 

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos came to a Columbus suburb to talk about school choice. And some local elected officials are miffed that they weren’t even aware of it until after the fact.

A photo of the University of Akron.
MARK AREHART / WKSU

The University of Akron announced the formation of a task force to review athletics spending. This comes just a week after trustees cut 178 jobs, including 96 union faculty. And as the union threatens not to approve contract concessions by an Aug. 3 deadline.

A photo of Patricia Shipe.
AKRON SCHOOLS / YOUTUBE

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.

photo of Akron Public Schools headquarters
AKRON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

It’s been eight years since Akron Public Schools passed a levy, making a new one a necessity even without the financial pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a special meeting on Monday, the board of education took the first step toward putting a levy on the November ballot. The board unanimously approved three resolutions that will allow Chief Financial Officer Ryan Pendleton to develop projections for how much the levy will cost citizens based on three different millages—6.9, 7.9 and 8.9.

Central State University is launching a technology education program and will serve as a regional hub for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the Midwest.

University of Akron
The University of Akron

The University of Akron Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure to reduce 178 union and nonunion faculty and staff positions.

Facing an estimated $65 million shortfall, the university expects to save $16.4 million through the mass layoff, which will begin in two weeks.

University President Gary Miller told trustees the cuts are needed to sustain the university in the future.

a photo of the University of Akron polymer building
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

The University of Akron is undergoing unprecedented challenges as it struggles to close a $65 million budget gap.

Its response includes a radical redesign of the school’s academic structure.

What will it mean for the future of Akron’s flagship polymer program?

photo of Dolli Quattrocchi-Gold
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The faculty union at the University of Akron rallied over the weekend to ask for support of what they feel should be the school’s core mission: education. They’re concerned about efforts to plug a $65 million budget shortfall that could deeply impact teaching positions. And they argue that the university spends too much on athletics.

A photo of the Kent campus.
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

This week the Trump administration announced that international students must take an in person class in the fall, or they will have to leave the United States. 

With protests shining a light on deeply rooted racial inequities, school leaders are being asked to be on the lookout for racial trauma when students return to class.

Kent Roosevelt High School
Creative Commons

A local school librarian who’s won a national award for her work, will use the money to buy more books for the programs she started at Kent Roosevelt High School.

Media Specialist Jennifer Flaherty plans to split the $10,000 prize between Read Woke and Rough Riders Read.

A group of faculty members at the University of Dayton are collecting surveys from UD employees to see how concerned they are about the campus reopening — and the risk of catching the coronavirus at work.

More than 250 UD employees have responded to the survey. Fewer than 30 percent say they feel safe returning to campus in the fall.

Pages