MEDINA, Ohio — With Medina County moving to Level 4 on the state’s coronavirus alert system, the Medina City School District has paused outside interactions and competitions for athletic and extracurricular activities.
“Last week, with the county going purple, we did make an adjustment to our athletics and extracurriculars,” said Superintendent Aaron Sable.
“Most of our extracurriculars can already be done virtually. We have several, though, that do meet and do need to meet, such as our Encore (the high school’s show choir) … and then, of course, all of our athletics.”
Sable explained that the reason for limiting contact is to provide more of a bubble for students involved in these programs and to decrease their interactions with students outside of the district.
He added that these programs will continue, and that they all will continue to follow COVID-19 safety precautions.
Sable shared that he has a number of concerns about not allowing students to participate in extracurriculars and athletics during the pandemic. He said these activities have a positive impact on students and their academic performance.
He also shared that, when it comes to athletics, sports seasons will eventually return to normal. He expressed concern that if student athletes are not able to continue working out, playing and staying in shape, then the district may see an increase in injuries when normal competition resumes.
Sable said many parents and community members have asked why the district isn’t having students attend classes in the buildings at the moment, but will allow extracurriculars.
He explained that it is much easier to control and monitor the small number of students that may gather during an athletic practice or club meeting than it is to control the crowds of students who would inhabit the school buildings on a daily basis.
In other news, Sable took some time to discuss calamity days and what they will look like this year in light of COVID-19 and remote and online learning.
He explained that those currently participating in Online 3.0 will continue with their online learning model and that teachers will continue to provide instruction. Those involved in the hybrid model will transition to remote learning while the county is dealing with severe spread of the coronavirus.
If the district gets back to the point where students will be regularly participating in face-to-face, in-person learning, calamity days — or snow days — will be made available.
If it appears that only one snow day is necessary, then staff and students would have the day off. If it appears that multiple snow days in a row will be needed, staff and students may transition to online learning.
Evolve Academy may also be transitioning to an online model. Those participating in the Medina Online Digital Academy will continue with their regular online instruction.
Sable also discussed an item that had been removed from this week’s meeting agenda, related to vaping and a potential lawsuit between JUUL and several school districts.
He hinted that this may potentially be related to advertisements and products that may have led or could have potentially led to an increase in the usage of vaping products among students.
Sable explained that this is relevant because it is related to money that many districts have put into dealing with the vaping issue through things such as anti-vaping and addiction programs.
The board is currently looking to legal counsel before discussing this and making a decision about how to proceed.
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