‘They really encourage us to stay open,’ Austintown superintendent says of keeping kids in class

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School administrators hired permanent substitutes before school started

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – School districts have been balancing a fine line between staying in school or going remote. Very few have pulled off in-person classes every day this year.

Austintown Superintendent Dave Cappuzzello said just today they were talking about what to do at the middle school.

Just before noon, school administrators were calling substitute teachers to fill slots for Wednesday. They had the foresight before school started in the summer to hire 14 permanent substitutes.

“I think if we didn’t do that, we’d be in trouble right now,”Cappuzzello said.

The district is doing the bulk of its teaching in person. Students stay separated 6-feet from each other and they’re protected by desk shields. Plus, everyone wears a mask.

Cappuzzello said the education delivery is so much better in person.

“The face to face and the question and answering, the social aspect of it all. You can’t beat face to face,” he said.

Quarantining and contact tracing has worked with the cases Austintown has had.

The Ohio Education Association has suggested all of Ohio’s public schools suspend all in-person instruction until January 11.

Cappuzzello participates in weekly superintendent’s meeting with the health department and says they’ve listened to what they’ve said.

“They really encourage schools to stay open because they feel it’s safest here. They don’t see the spread happening at school. They see it at social events, as we all hear,” Cappuzzello said.

The OEA suggestion calls for a 14-day quarantine period after Christmas but does not take into account New Year’s.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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