In a message to students, parents and staff Friday, Cleveland schools CEO Eric Gordon announced that the district would be operating in a "fully remote learning environment" for the first nine weeks of the year.
The decision, ultimately made by Gordon and the school board, arrived after a parent survey in which more than two-thirds responded they were either not comfortable at all or only "slightly comfortable" with sending their children back to school.
Gordon said that even with strict health protocols in place, the level of risk from Covid-19 was extremely high in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County and that he and the board made the decision in the interests of student and faculty safety.
Gordon, who has led CMSD since 2011, stressed that the optimal learning environment was the classroom, but highlighted efforts the District has made to provide technological access to families without home internet. He said more than 16,000 devices and nearly 10,000 internet hot spots had already been distributed. There are more than 37,000 students enrolled in CMSD schools.
Gordon said that the remote learning model would be in place for the first nine weeks but that CMSD would re-examine health risks regularly, and would only resume in-person schooling when it became “safe and practical" to do so.
"We will need to continue to adjust, adapt and improve over time," Gordon said.
Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.