Photo shows minimal social distancing at Ohio high school

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EASTLAKE, Ohio (WJW) – The first day of school is sparking concerns about safety and social distancing at one Ohio high school.

Superintendent Steve Thompson responded to a photo showing minimal social distancing of masked students during what he described as a 50-minute study hall at North High School: “It’s Day One and of course it’s not perfect, but I would say we’re doing the best that we can.”

WJW photo

He says staffing adjustments will be made as needed. Earlier this month, Thompson stated their goal was to have at least a 3-foot distance between students.

“I was very clear that returning to school would mean we would not always be able to accomplish the goal of maintaining six feet of distancing, buildings simply were not built to do that,” he says.

Parent Tanisha Pickens says she decided to make the switch from homeschooling her children in 7th and 5th grade to enrolling in the district for in-person instruction over the summer break. Monday, she expressed frustration over class sizes and social distancing.

“They’re not safe as much as they should be,” Pickens said. “I feel like I should be given further reassurance that my kid is going to be okay and return home safe and healthy.”

Students arrived to the high school Monday morning wearing masks, and Thompson said that 70 percent of the district’s roughly 8,400 students chose to return for in-person learning.

“I would be remiss not to say there isn’t a risk in returning to school,” he said. “We’re going to monitor it very closely.”

The school board is meeting Monday night to discuss a potential change in policy that would allow for coronavirus testing of students.

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