Back to school in CW

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Canal Winchester Schools’ students not enrolled in the district’s virtual academy will return to the physical classroom four days a week starting March 22 and spend Wednesdays in a remote learning mode before moving on to five days week in school beginning May 3.

“It’s almost like we’re starting over again on March 22,” said Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent Jim Sotlar. “People are excited. They’re nervous. I think—for the most part—we’re ready to get our kids back. We’re going to continue making sure everyone is wearing a mask. We’re going to do our best to social distance three feet. Schools weren’t designed for social distancing.”

Sotlar said if any issues come up, he will work with the staff to come up with solutions and that spring break is March 29 through April 2.

“We’re excited to get back to four days a week and then five,” said Sotlar, who continued with the good news by announcing there is going to be a high school prom this year, along with an in-person high school graduation ceremony.

Two options were offered to high school students in determining what form the prom will take at the Westin on April 16 or in the high school on May 14.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting the hotel’s capacity to 350, prom would be held in two stages; juniors and their dates would attend from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and seniors from 9-11 p.m.

“We can’t have an all-inclusive prom because most of the time we have 500 or more kids at the prom,” said Sotlar. “If a senior is dating a junior or a junior is dating a senior, they can’t go at both times…only one. Option number two is to have an all-inclusive prom at the high school. We’re letting the high school kids choose.”

Sotlar also announced a traditional graduation ceremony will take place on May 29 at 9 a.m. at World Harvest Church where capacity is also capped. Graduating seniors will be limited to five tickets for family members. Sotlar emphasized everything is still subject to change according to Gov. Mike DeWine’s orders or mandates.

“They can get stricter or loosen up,” said Sotlar. “If World Harvest doesn’t come through, then we have a backup plan at the high school football stadium.”

That plan includes a 9 a.m. start time with the option of pushing it two hours or more in case of inclement weather. Sotlar said he plans to closely monitor daily and weekly COVID-19 numbers in the school district.

“If we have to make a shift, then we’ll do that,” Sotlar said.

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