Middletown students soon returning to schools to retrieve belongings

Thousands of Middletown students will be returning to their schools early next month but only to pick up their personal belongings, say school officials.

Middletown Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. told school board members during their meeting earlier this week, which was held remotely via Facebook Live, students can retrieve their personal items on May 7-8 at hours to be announced for each of the district’s 10 buildings.

Like all K-12 schools in Ohio, the Butler County district closed down last month as part of the many preventive measures ordered by state officials to battle the coronavirus.

And since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week the schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year, Middletown officials have been formulating plans to safely return students’ possessions left behind in lockers and school desks.

“We won’t have anyone going into the buildings,” said Styles. “Teachers will organize personal belongings. The interactions between people need to be minimized. We all had to exit when we shut down. Each individual school will be communicating to our school families but I’d like to stress to everyone please abide by the (school) schedule and pick up items while practicing safe social distance practices. After you pick up your child’s belongings we ask you exit the campus to minimize interaction.”

In other board action, Styles discussed the guidelines, which are still being finalized for students depending on their individual circumstances, as to how their final grades will be calculated for the last half of the semester – for grades 7 to 12 – and the final quarter for all students in other grades.

Overall, he said the district will follow state legislative guidelines and those from the Ohio Department of Education requiring most students to be held “harmless” for their academic responsibilities for the last portion of the school year.

School officials will contact each Middletown school family to discuss their children’s grading but in general all students in K-6th grade will receive a “pass” grade and be promoted to the next grade for the 2020-2021 school year, which is scheduled to begin in August.

Students in grades 7-12 have a more complicated procedure but overall, said Styles, students in these grades will have for the entire school year the final grades they achieved for the fall semester and the first half of the second semester, prior to the school shutdowns last month.

There will be no overall grade designations for 7-12 students since the shutdown in March.

But individual student grades may vary according to their circumstances, he said, and under state orders there are no exams given during the current remote learning.

Among the options for the final portion of the school year are “pass” or “no grade.”

“We are working through a thousand different scenarios to make sure students get the credit they have earned,” said Styles, who emphasized each student’s family will soon be contacted with explanations from teachers and administrators from their schools.

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