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Belpre Schools holds online forum

In this screencap taken Monday evening, Belpre City Schools Superintendent Jeff Greenley leads an online public forum concerning the district’s fall schools reopening plan.

BELPRE — Belpre City Schools held an online public forum Monday to discuss this fall’s reopening plans.

The planned opening on Aug. 24 will follow numerous state and federal guidelines to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.

Superintendent Jeff Greenley led the reopening discussion, outlining the school system’s re-entry plans.

“Our intent tonight is to get you guys all the information you need to make an informed decision,” Greenley said.

The re-entry plan relies heavily on Ohio’s COVID-19 warning system, which tracks outbreaks and risk of infection in counties throughout the state. The four-level ranking system indicates the rate of coronavirus spread and risk based on a variety of indicators, with a Level 1 being minimal and a Level 4 resulting in a shutdown of businesses and agencies to slow the spread of the virus.

The district’s decisions “will be decided by data, and it will be decided by local data,” Greenley said. “We have tied our restart plan directly to those indicator levels.”

Washington County is rated at a Level 1, Greenley said, down from a Level 2 earlier in the month.

Greenley said under a Level 1 or 2, Belpre City Schools will operate largely as normal but with social distancing in place and the use of face masks required for all staff and for students in grades 4-12. For students in K-3, the use of masks is recommended but not required. However, all students riding on a school bus are required to wear a mask regardless of grade level, he said.

If the district would reach a Level 3, Greenley said, the school system would go to a hybrid model of in-person and online learning, with half the student population going to school two days a week on alternating days. A Level 4 rating would mean buildings would close and all instruction would go online. Greenley said Belpre schools likely will operate under the hybrid model for the first several weeks of the school year to give students and staff time to learn the social distancing requirements.

The district also is offering parents the option of semester-long online school, he said.

The plan and a list of frequently asked questions will be mailed to families this week and are available on the district’s web site or through the Belpre City Schools app. Families have until Aug. 3 to decide whether they will enroll students in virtual school this semester or go with a mix of in-person and online learning.

For more information on the guidelines and items discussed during Monday’s online forum, read Wednesday’s edition of the Marietta Times.

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