School officials face tough decisions in planning the fast-approaching school year

Belmont County

BRIDGEPORT, Ohio (WTRF) – Officials are agonizing over how the school year will look as the COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.

They could teach in person, online, or a combination of both.

As they study the state mandates, local school officials wonder if it’s even physically possible to comply.

Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Brent Ripley said it’s a challenge.

With six-foot social distancing, he explains they can fit 15 to 18 students into a classroom, but the average class has 22 to 30 students in it. The district can’t put the overflow into another classroom, because there aren’t any extra classrooms.

To achieve social distancing on a school bus, they’d have to triple the number of bus runs.

One of the things every district can do is submit a remote learning plan. They’re due in August, so we’re going to meet and prepare our remote learning plan. I think the best thing for kids is that the kids are back in school, all day, every day. Schools do a great job with kids, butt on the flip side, we do have to follow what the governor’s orders are.

Brent Ripley, Bridgeport Schools Superintendent

They plan to send a questionnaire to parents to get their input.

Some parents have already notified the school that they won’t be sending their children back this year.

Ripley said the administrative team, including principals, the cafeteria supervisor, school nurse and transportation director, will meet and share their thoughts. They will also consult with the Belmont County Deputy Health Commissioner.

At this point, school is scheduled to start August 20.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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