Schools in the city of Parma are canceling classes due to the heat; Superintendent discusses mask recommendation and COVID concern


PARMA, Ohio – Hot summer days brought 90-degree days to northeastern Ohio, forcing schools in the city of Parma today (Aug. 25) to shut down lessons for the second consecutive day. The district just started the 2021-2022 school year on Monday.

“We knew that at the start of the week we would have days that were going to be touched and gone,” said Parma City School Superintendent Charles Smialek. “It’s difficult, especially so close to the start of the year. We’re obviously one day away and had a very positive first day, but we don’t want to disrupt our momentum.

“At the same time, it is quite difficult to ask children to sit in classrooms at 101 degrees. We usually try before 7:00 p.m. to make that call so people can make arrangements. Obviously, (today) is going to be difficult. It’s going to be hotter.

Currently, the only buildings in the neighborhood that have central air conditioning are Shiloh College and Normandy High School. The superintendent said parts of other buildings, including media centers or classrooms for students with multiple disabilities, are equipped with air conditioners.

The last time the schools in the city of Parma experienced a day of disaster due to the heat was in 2018.

“What’s ironic is that people say they start school after Labor Day,” Smialek said. “When I was teaching, the two times we had hot days were in September, not August. September can often have warmer temperatures than August.

If the heat persists, the superintendent does not rule out exploring the use of early release to keep children in school.

Regarding going back to school as the number of COVID rises statewide and nationwide, the superintendent supports the district’s policy to strongly recommend that students and staff wear masks with a on guard.

“We will assess how it works after the first two weeks and whether we need to revise based on quarantine numbers or students who actually get sick at school, which we obviously hope they don’t,” he said. said Smialek. “It would be the worst case scenario.

“At the same time, I always remember all the parents who reached out and talked about mask fatigue. Their children would come home exhausted from wearing the mask or they dropped a mask on the playground, had to pick it up and put it back on. It’s obviously not sanitary, so there are a lot of important and very real concerns about wearing masks, but we’ll try to stay out of the mandate if possible. “

The one aspect of wearing the mask that the superintendent hopes all parents consider is quarantine.

“We’ve made it clear that a greater risk at this point of getting sick is being quarantined and having to miss five or 10 days of school,” Smialek said. “If you’re wearing a mask and you’re exposed to positive contact, you don’t have to quarantine yourself. It’s a very big incentive to wear a mask, quite frankly. “

As a parent and educator, Smialek said he was concerned about the upsurge in COVID cases involving children nationwide.

“The last thing we want to do is put the kids at risk,” Smialek said. “The penultimate thing is that we want to go back to virtual learning. Based on our own performance, if we need to change our (mask) procedures, we will do so before we obviously move on to the next stage of school closures. “

Read more news from the Parma Sun Post here.

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