On our response


photo via Private School Review

This school year has no doubt been a rough one. From decimated traditions to masks and distancing replacing community and closeness, the Hoban community has hurt. Students, teachers and parents alike all have hoped that our present situation would eventually change, but it unfortunately has not.

The current state of the pandemic, which is objectively worse than it ever has been before, should call us to consider our role both as an educational institution and as responsible members of the local community.

We came into the 2020 school year with a robust entrance plan, featuring two lunchrooms to accommodate distancing, one-way hallways, delayed exit strategies between classes and even an outlined plan as to when it is safe to be at school in accordance with the Ohio Department of Health color coding system. Yet, when we entered school in September, these measures were inconsistently carried out. From relaxed policies on one-way hallways to filling one lunchroom with students instead of splitting them into two, it is impossible to ignore the shortcomings of our plan from the start. Soon enough, students began and continue to test positive.

However, now we are in an unique situation. Summit County is classified in the Level Four category of the Ohio Department of Health’s tracking data, which is the most severe and indicates the highest risk of coronavirus spread.Instead, we have made the decision to maintain the status-quo.

You may remember from the beginning of the year that it was our published plan to go fully remote if we ever reached this dire category, however our administration has classified in-person instruction at Hoban as something that is essential to occur in person, and from the student’s perspective that is far from the truth.

Following Thanksgiving, we had a week of totally remote learning, which received glowing reviews from many students. The consensus was that last week was better than any other online instruction that has occured this year, and that is because we gave teachers the true opportunity to teach all of their students, in the same format, at the same time. This single-focused modality proved more efficient, streamlined and uniform.Though nothing can beat all in-person all the time, that is simply not a possibility. A fully remote education has simply been better than the hybrid offering.

Through last week, we showed that in-person instruction at Hoban is not essential under our current dire circumstances, and that we should not take the risk of infecting students, teachers or neighbors in our community unnecessarily.

Ultimately, as a Hoban community we need to ask ourselves the question, “Are we willing to have a COVID death tie back to Hoban?”

If our answer is yes, we can proceed as we have. But for a community as family-focused as Hoban, we must make the difficult decision to be safer at home.