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Toledo Public Schools Board still uncertain about next week after canceling classes this week

"I think the plan is that we're gonna have to make that decision almost on a day-to-day basis," said Polly Gerken, the president of the board of education.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo Public Schools board members are asking for the community's trust and patience as they maneuver through a new semester and yet another COVID-19 spike.

The school district is still not sure what will happen next week after classes were canceled this week. 

That leaves some big decisions lingering within TPS.

"At this moment we're hoping everyone is going to be in school on Monday. I think the plan is that we're gonna have to make that decision almost on a day-to-day basis. On a building to building basis," said Polly Gerken, the President of the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education.  

Gerken says they have been making every effort to keep kids in class. 

Earlier this week TPS had to cancel a return to school after the winter break because of COVID cases and the impact on staff. 

"We think the best way for students to learn is for them to be in-person, at school, learning. So we really want to have everything possible for us to have our students in the buildings learning," said James Gant, TPS Deputy Superintendent. 

Although more than 80 percent of the staff is vaccinated, 35 were isolated and 1 was in quarantine last week. 

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"It's the fact that if too many adults are suffering from COVID and need to isolate for 5 days or more, then sometimes those just don't happen in the same place, at the same time and we just literally cannot physically open a building," said Gerken. 

If cases persist, some buildings or classes would have to go virtual, even though that is not the top choice. 

"The key is we want students here. This is the best place to educate so there's a lot of hesitation about it. We want to be in front of them teaching. Everybody supports that. So there's absolutely hesitation with going virtual," said Gant. 

But Gerken says they've done it before, and should have no problem doing it again since every student already has a chrome book. 

She understands parents don't want to take that route. 

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"We already know the collective trauma that our families have endured as well as our staff from a year of isolation," said Gerken. "A year of missed opportunities for socialization and now we're playing a lot of catch up, getting kids re-engaged in learning in-person as it is."

Gerken says she apologizes in advance for when communication isn't as quick as most would like, but she says parents can always contact them if they have any questions. 

Whether it be through social media or just calling directly at 419-671-0001.


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