Lauren Samios is ready for her children to go back to school full time. When will that happen? she asked Brookfield school Supt. Toby Gibson.
“I realize that everybody’s frustrated right now,” she told the school board Sept. 16. “I’ve spoken to a lot of parents. We’re frustrated having to be teachers, workers, moms, dads, everything.”
If five days a week is not possible, she said she would get some satisfaction from three, which is one more day than they now go to school.
“Everyone wants the best for their children, the best education that they can get for their children,” said the mother of two, aged 7 and 9.
“My goal is to get kids in the building,” Gibson replied. “I don’t think anybody can sit here and say this is the best situation for education. This is the situation we’re in because of the COVID virus.”
However, the hybrid plan that the school is working under “is the safest way to bring kids in the building,” he said. “We’re constantly trying to tweak and provide the educational resources for families and for students. We’ll continue to do that.”
In terms of when to bring kids back full time, there’s no specific criteria, he said, although area superintendents are starting to talk about that, and noted he talks weekly with representatives of the Trumbull County Combined Health District.
“The number they tell you to look at is the (COVID) case per 100,000” people, Gibson said. “They don’t give you guidance to when it reaches a certain number then it’s all clear.”
Pennsylvania set a benchmark of 10 cases per 100,000, he said. “Right now, we’re at 16 to 18 per 100,000. The numbers are dropping. We’re getting close to where, I think, we can start transitioning kids back in the building. That decision has to be made soon, because parents need to plan for it. That will happen here before the end of the grading period.”
Gibson said he understands Samios’ frustration, and sees his own kids’ struggles, but doesn’t want to rush kids back in, sustain an outbreak, and then have to go back to all-remote learning.
“I want to do it in the safest manner as possible,” he said of bringing students back to school.
Samios asked what makes Brookfield different from schools that are back to full sessions.
“They have the room,” Gibson said. “Lordstown built a school for 900, there’s 300 kids. Badger has room; they can social distance. This building, there is not an extra space. We have people using storage rooms for offices.”