Supporters of in-person classes ask BG board to do more

BG VOICE, a group for those that want families in Bowling Green to have a choice to attend school in
person, held its second rally Monday.
Rally for a Real Plan started at Wooster Green and marched to the Bowling Green City Schools district’s
administrative offices on Clough Street.
The feeling among several of the 15 participants was that the plan approved by the board last week should
have been in place at the start of the school year.
The board of education on Thursday finalized a plan for when students will be allowed back in the
building. That plan includes the return of students to in-person classes on Jan. 5 – depending on the
status of the coronavirus.
Jim Trampevski, who has one student in seventh grade, said the plan should have been in place last
academic year when the school board surveyed parents.
“The school board neglected to follow the will of the people. They failed to give the people what they
desired and give them the plan when the school year started,” Trampevski said.
If the plan had been in place in August, “these kids would have been attending school right now, until
recently when COVID spiked.”
The district started this school year on Sept. 8 online, but has held classes remotely since the
state-mandated shutdown in March. Bowling Green is the only school in the county that started the
2020-21 school year online, and has stayed entirely online.
“We can do better than this,” Trampevski said. “They’ve missed half a year of school when all other peers
around them have not had to make that kind of sacrifice.”
Kids need to be in school at least part of the time, even when pandemic levels are like they are, he
said.
Jessica Swaisgood, who organized BG VOICE and led the rally, said she didn’t agree that a “plan” is now
in place.
“I feel like what they did is set thresholds that are actually going to be very tough for our community
to meet in order to get our kids back,” she said.
Swaisgood doesn’t think the thresholds should be thrown away – it is good to have them for planning
purposes – but it would have been helpful to have them at the beginning of the school year instead of
now.
“I think what they need to do is revisit the thresholds in January if our kids aren’t able to go back and
be flexible … and say, these are our circumstances, what can we do to get children back in school,” she
said.
Her daughter, who is in seventh grade, is struggling online but her son, who is in third grade, is doing
well, Swaisgood said.
“With these new thresholds, that’s another issue,” she said. “She’s not going to get in school
realistically even by the end of the school year.
The matrix approved by the school board states that as long as the county is red, or on a level 3 through
the state, learning will continue remotely.
The county went to level 3 on Thursday. (Daily Wood County coronavirus statistics are on page 2.)
If the county is orange, and the district is at the threshold of meeting three or more indicators,
students K-5 will be hybrid and grades 6-12 will remain remote.
If the county is orange and the district does not meet three indicators, K-5 will be in school four days
a week (Tuesday-Thursday) and grades 6-12 will be hybrid.
Once the county is yellow, a level 1, all students will be in the buildings for face-to-face learning.

There are six indicators that include the incident rates in the city, the number of positive cases in the
43402 zip code and within the school district over a 14-day timeframe, the percentage change of
community cases over 14 days, the rate of absenteeism in individual school buildings and what the risk
level is for Wood County (red, orange or yellow).
“Realistically, when are we going to get yellow again?” Swaisgood asked. “We need to look at what we have
and how we can work with that and still get our kids safely back in school.”
Kevorah Snyder said the plan will keep her seventh-grade son out of school even if the county goes back
to level 2, or orange.
“I just think we need a better plan,” she said.
Snyder said she would be happy even with students back in a hybrid model – anything face to face.
She agreed with the January date, conceding that the buffer after the holidays is a good idea.
But, “I just don’t see them going back Jan. 5,” she said.
Chris Burch is the crossing guard at Conneaut Elementary and likes to say he has 450 kids in school. He
has been a girls softball and boys baseball coach for community organizations and said he knows many
parents.
The plan that has been approved has a lot of loopholes that will allow the board to keep the buildings
closed, Burch said.
He said he hears the biggest concern from parents is the lack of socialization among the younger grades.

Hopefully the younger students can return to school in January and if the numbers stay small, the higher
grades can be added, he said.
That date is dependent on how many indicators are met on the district’s new COVID-19 decision matrix,
which can be viewed on the district’s website under the COVID-19 tab.
The January date allows for a two-week cushion for after the Christmas holiday and Superintendent Francis
Scruci has said he hopes the number of coronavirus cases decline by then to the point that students can
return to the classroom in a hybrid and face-to-face model.
Swaisgood said she doesn’t want to look unreasonable, but what would make her happy is if kids were
allowed back in school and the school board could figure out how to be flexible and keep kids safe
regardless of what color the county is in.
“Regardless of the color, there is a way to get people back in school,” she said.
Trampevski praised the community for being involved.
“I think the important message here is we want what’s best for the kids. The community has come together
to demonstrate that and it makes me feel good to be part of such a great community.”