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Bowling Green Board of Education votes to return to full-time in-person learning

BG students will be welcomed back in the building on March 29th after a special school board session Saturday
Published: Mar. 20, 2021 at 1:39 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - As early as 8 a.m. Saturday morning, concerned Bowling Green City School District parents lined up in front of Bowling Green High School, greeting school board members, demanding to see their children return to the classroom full time.

Those in attendance shared a mutual frustration.

“I’m just very frustrated with the lack of logistical planning from July on,” said parent Susanne Swoap.

“I’m just very frustrated with them not having a plan,” said parent DJ Deiter. “They’ve had plenty of time when all the other school districts have been able to find a way.”

Parents, staff, and students lined up in solidarity in front of BG High School’s Performing Arts Center. The group held signs and expressed their heated frustrations. Parents who stood awaiting the arrival of school board members say their students are now falling behind as a result of not being in the classroom five days a week.

BG City School parents, students, and staff held signs saying: "Open BG Schools," "You've Had...
BG City School parents, students, and staff held signs saying: "Open BG Schools," "You've Had Time to Plan," and "This School Year is a Joke."(Jack Bassett)

“They are getting the bare minimum instructional hours,” said Swoap.“We just want strong leadership to make a plan, stick with it, and implement it.”

“Our boys are falling behind, and they’ll tell you that,” said Deiter. “They see it amongst their peers, and we’re just afraid as they try to move forward that they really are behind. It’s not fair to the kids, everyday counts, every month counts, and every effort counts. We just want them to have a plan, move forward, and make a decision.”

In a special packed Saturday school board session, Board of Education members made a presentation to discuss and determine a way back to full-time in-person learning, transitioning away from their current hybrid remote model.

“We have always recognized that that’s not the way kids learn,” said Bowling Green City Schools Board of Education President Norman Geer. “Kids learn in the classroom face to face, and we’ve known that, and that’s been our goal to try and get to that. We recognize that as a school board we would be making decisions that would affect 3,000 students, their parents, and our community, and that’s a heavy responsibility.”

President Geer explains the return has been delayed due to the age of buildings across the district, as well as a lack of ventilation, and limited amounts of space. But now with teachers vaccinated and CDC restrictions expanding in classrooms, BG City School leaders voted unanimously to go back full time starting March 29th.

“We still have concerns with spacing, we still have ventilation concerns, but we are going to do our best because the safety is satisfied enough to the point where we can concentrate on the actual educational function that teachers love to do face to face with their students,” said President Geer. “We will continue to adapt, we will continue to try things to make it better, and we will always keep the safety and education of our kids at the forefront.”

District leaders will continue to offer a hybrid remote education model option for those who do not wish to welcome their students back in-person at this time.

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