Summit School District will return to in-person school after winter break |

Summit School District will return to in-person school after winter break

Schools will have a one-day delay to allow for potential staffing shortages

Summit High School is pictured March 18. Despite increasing coronavirus cases across the county, Summit School District will bring students back to school in-person next week.
Jason Connolly/For the Summit Daily News

Summit School District will bring students back to in-person learning after winter break on a slightly delayed schedule due to potential staffing shortages and travel delays, according to the district.

Despite coronavirus transmission increasing thanks to the omicron variant and a mask mandate making a countywide comeback, the school district will delay the start of school after winter break by only one day.

Middle and high school students will return to school Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. Elementary students will return Wednesday, Jan. 5, and preschool students will return Thursday, Jan. 6.

District spokesperson Andrea Ridder said school leadership met with Summit County Public Health Department officials for about four hours Thursday, Dec. 30, and that health officials didn’t recommend taking kids out of school because of all the mitigation protocols the district has in place to reduce transmission.

“They are not calling for students to be out of school at this point and really saying that because we are masking, because we’re screening testing, because we’re doing all the things that we’re doing, it really is mitigating a lot of spread,” Ridder said. “Because of what we’re doing, we’re keeping our people safe and our numbers have been actually pretty good.”

The one-day delay will give district leadership time to adjust for anticipated potential staffing shortages due to illness as well as potential travel delays with snow in the forecast.

“What we’re trying to mitigate is coming in Monday morning and not knowing what’s going to happen just with everything going on,” Ridder said. “What we need to understand is where we are, and staff is out because they’re on holiday, and so a lot of them haven’t been in communication.”

Ridder also said that since this is a continuously evolving situation, the extra day will allow the leadership team to look over all of its backup plans and protocols to ensure everything is in order.

“We do have backup plans, but we have to evaluate those plans and really revise them according to what’s going on with this new variant, what’s going on with different guidelines,” Ridder said. “… We’re grateful for everyone being patient and flexible as we’re all figuring this out together.”

Since public health didn’t see a need to take kids out of the classroom, Ridder said the district wants as many healthy kids coming in if they are able to. There won’t be any temporary remote learning options as of yet, but Ridder reiterated the ever-evolving nature of the pandemic.

“We want children to be in school,” Ridder said. “We know that’s what’s best for them. … It’s better for them to all be together, and we’re seeing that now.”

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