Several Springfield schools move to remote learning due to COVID-related absences

Credit: Springfield City Schools

Credit: Springfield City Schools

Several schools in the Springfield City School District have moved to virtual instruction this week due to COVID-19 related absences.

Students at Springfield High School, Schaefer Middle School and Hayward Middle School will use remote learning through Friday, Jan. 14, according to the a post on the district’s Facebook page. All other schools will operate as normal.

Superintendent Bob Hill said the district had close to 300 positive and probable COVID cases last week.

“Springfield High School had over 30 COVID-related uncovered staff absences, which makes it impossible to cover all classes and ensure the continuation of learning and the safety and security of students. Schaefer Middle School and Hayward Middle School also had approximately one third to half of their staff absent and uncovered due to COVID, which puts those schools in an unfortunate, yet similar situation compared to the high school,” Hill said.

“There is not a ‘magic number’ that decides when one of our school buildings should transition to virtual learning. Each situation has to be addressed holistically, and in these cases, in-person learning was just not possible,” Hill added.

Springfield High School students first went to remote learning last week on Thursday and Friday.

Several parents complained on the school district’s Facebook page about the change.

“Parents must understand that the district will remain open whenever possible to address the social emotional and learning needs of our students,” Hill said. “We apologize for any inconvenience that virtual instruction may cause for our families, but at this point we believe it to be a necessity.”

Hill said the district will continue to monitor COVID-19 and close buildings on a case-by-case basis, and are in constant contact with building nurses and the Clark County Combined Health District to ensure they are following the best health and safety protocols.

All three school buildings will remain virtual this week, with the goal of returning to in-person instruction on Wednesday, Jan. 19 as Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Tuesday is a district-wide professional development day, Hill said.

Graham Elementary School was closed Monday due to staff shortages related to illnesses. Graham Middle and High School operated as normal.

Clark-Shawnee Elementary School also closed last Friday due a staff shortage and lack of substitutes available due to the rise in COVID-19.

A total of 60 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Clark and Champaign County schools for the week of Dec. 27-Jan. 2, which was during the winter break, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s school district dashboard’s latest update.

There were 31 cases reported in Clark County schools and 29 cases reported in Champaign County schools.

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