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Ohio’s rural schools face unknown with in-person classes amid COVID

Columbus Dispatch |

The largely rural Belmont County and Tuscarawas County plan to start the school year with in-person classes.

Coordinated by each district in partnership with local public health departments, the decision to start in-person or remote learning is being determined by community survey data and access to broadband resources, according to the East Central Ohio Educational Service Center (ESC).

Randy Lucas, the superintendent of the East Central Ohio ESC, said the 22 school districts in his counties are adhering to a colored, tiered system that the service center developed. Green equals in-person, yellow means hybrid and red is fully remote.

“The No. 1 problem is broadband,” Lucas said. “It’s very difficult to hold students and family accountable for the work if you can’t guarantee they have access to the internet.”