Fairfield delays start of in-person classes after holidays

Billy Smith, superintendent of Fairfield Schools, shown here filling in as a substitute teacher due to coronavirus-caused staff shortages, says the district will delay the start of in-person classes next week. Fairfield officials and other school officials in some local districts say switching to all remote learning for the first week of winter classes will lessen the chances of a rise in coronavirus cases. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Billy Smith, superintendent of Fairfield Schools, shown here filling in as a substitute teacher due to coronavirus-caused staff shortages, says the district will delay the start of in-person classes next week. Fairfield officials and other school officials in some local districts say switching to all remote learning for the first week of winter classes will lessen the chances of a rise in coronavirus cases. (File Photo\Journal-News)

Another area school district is changing its class schedule for when students return from winter break.

Fairfield Schools recently announced it has responded to recommendations from state and local health officials to push back the beginning of in-person classes after the holiday break to allow for time to reveal any possible spikes in coronavirus cases.

Instead of live classes resuming on Jan. 4, Fairfield Schools will hold all remote learning from home for the first week of classes through Jan. 8 and will resume in-person classes on Jan. 11 unless health officials recommend otherwise.

ExploreLakota changes return to in-person learning to avoid possible ‘superspreader’ holidays

“We have consistently stated that we will follow guidance from state and local medical officials when making these difficult decisions,” said Fairfield Superintendent Billy Smith in a statement released to school families.

ExploreSome area superintendents filled in for quarantined teachers, staffers

“Governor Mike DeWine’s recommendation is based on his conversations with medical professionals. He said during his briefing that delaying the return to school would allow for a ‘fresh start’ from any coronavirus spread from the holidays. After exposure, it takes several days for the virus to incubate and for symptoms to begin.

“During our week-long remote learning, our buildings will be open, and staff will be present on site. Teachers will post the first learning activities/assignments/instructional videos for the week by 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 4. Teachers are available to respond to questions and provide help during the normal student day, unless it is their plan bell or lunchtime.”

Those students signed up for exclusively virtual learning from home for the second semester will begin their instructional days on Jan. 4.

“Students in need of Wi-Fi to complete assignments during this period can contact the individual’s school to make arrangements for access,” Smith said. “Students in grades K-5 who do not have access to a device at home should also contact the building for assistance.”

Smith said “all extracurricular activities will continue as scheduled. Parents and students should contact their coach or club advisor with any questions.”

Student school meals will be available for pick up for all students - including students in the virtual learning option - on Jan. 4, Jan. 6 and Jan. 8 at Fairfield High School and Fairfield Freshman School from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

“We understand the inconvenience and the disappointment this may cause, but we believe this is the best way to protect students and staff,” said Smith.

In Other News