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TPS plans full return to classrooms with masking required for certain grades

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 11:54 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo Public Schools is moving forward with plans to bring students back into school buildings on a five-day a week schedule when classes begin for the 2021-22 school year, with some students required to wear masks. “We’re trying to do what’s best for the kids, and do it in a safe way,” said Jim Gant, TPS Deputy Superintendent.

However, the school district will be monitoring the COVID-19 infection rates in the area and make decisions about school and district operations based on information from the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and other regulatory agencies. “Our thought at this point is that we’ll always be evaluating, seeing what we need to be doing,” added Gant. “That said, if things change, vaccinations become available for younger kids, we’ll obviously take a look at it at that time. "

Students in grades Pre-K through eighth will be required to wear face coverings or masks while in school this year. Also, any student who utilizes TPS transportation services will be required to wear a mask/face covering when riding the bus.

The district is also strongly encouraging high school students and staff members to wear masks and face covering, particularly those who have not been vaccinated yet. At this time, though, that is still optional. “There’s a few things that we’re going to be doing,” said Gant. “One: we try and educate folks as much as possible why it’s important to get vaccinated. In addition to that, we’re going to provide opportunities, provide vaccinations through our systems like we’ve done in the past. "

The district also said plans may change based upon COVID-19 rates and recommendations from the health department.

Social distancing will be practiced wherever possible, especially in classrooms, offices, and other areas in the schools or offices where large numbers of people congregate.

“Kids are coming back from a tremendous event, so it will look different,” stated Gant. “How? I’m not quite sure, because this is the first time ever. I think our focus is making sure we are working with our students from a social and emotional perspective, and our staff, to make sure they can get acclimated into the system as easy as possible.”

Staff and students are encouraged to continue with daily health monitoring. COVID-19 safety guidelines will be reinforced, including daily cleaning of hard surfaces, classrooms, and offices.

TPS will again offer its Virtual Academy online learning option for interested students this school year. The deadline to register for the Virtual Academy is Aug. 3 and is open to all students in grades 1 through 12. All students will be provided with Chromebooks and Internet service if needed. Registration can be done online at tps.org at the TPS News for a link. Students who attended last year’s Virtual Academy MUST fill out an application to be considered for the 2021-2022 Virtual Academy.

Virtual students from last year who are planning to return to their home school can do so without filing any additional paperwork.

Please call 419-671-5100 with any questions about the Virtual Academy or email virtual-academy@tps.org. All families will be contacted no later than Aug. 10 with a status update on their application.

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