Mayfield takes early spring break, moves to virtual instruction


Gov. Mike DeWine's official Twitter

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tweeted on March 11 that he wasn’t at the point of closing schools yet. One day later, he announced statewide closures of all schools.

Kyra Horvat, Staff Writer

Concern over the spread of the coronavirus has officially reached Mayfield High School, as Gov. Mike DeWine has closed Mayfield and all other Ohio schools beginning Monday, March 16.

According to Gov. DeWine, schools will be closed for three weeks, but Mayfield superintendent Dr. Keith Kelly said that doesn’t mean that instruction at Mayfield High School will stop for three weeks. “It is imperative to take note: Student instruction WILL continue online and remotely. We are closing our facilities. We are not stopping instruction,” Dr. Kelly said in an email to parents and staff.

To communicate the plan for instruction taking place, principal Jeff Legan has extended homeroom on Friday, March 13 and will address the entire student body. For students in Excel TECC or The Option who arrive late, Legan plans to record and post the announcements so there’s no misunderstanding of Mayfield’s plan for the next three weeks.

Biology teacher Chris Torda said he and other teachers will need to make adjustments to how the curriculum is taught. “I’ll have to find new ways to get my lessons online and turn them into virtual lessons, so there’s work that needs to be done,” he said.

Junior class president Johnny Gaudio applauds the proactive measure to close schools. He said, “I think that school closing is a good thing for preventive action against the virus; however, I think that this will become an issue in terms of teaching because face-to-face learning is more beneficial than online. [It’s more beneficial] especially in harder classes like calculus or chemistry where the in-person lessons are crucial.”

Legan wants to put the safety of the students first regarding the virus and wants students to continue getting their education. He said, “I know that we want everyone to keep up with their studies, but I also know that there’s AP testing coming up and just a lot of things to think about.”

AP testing is not the only testing concern as there is still state testing, the ACT, and the SAT that need to be either rescheduled or confirmed to be happening. Legan said, “There is actually new legislation right now that may cancel state testing for this year.”

Mayfield is taking direction from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. Dr. Kelly said about the custodians’ plan for Monday, March 16, “Our custodial team will continue to aggressively deep clean our schools, classrooms, bathrooms, buses, cafeterias, etc.”

It is being recommended by the CDC to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Torda said, “You can use Purells and stuff but those aren’t as good as regular soap and water; but, they don’t hurt. It’s just an extra layer of defense.”

Other versions of the virus exist, most well known being SARS and MERS, but there are other alpha and beta coronaviruses. Biology teacher Michael Verdi said, “In fact if you read the bottom of your Lysol wipes it says it kills coronavirus, and the only reason it says that is because we’ve had coronavirus for a long time. We know that it appears highly contagious, and we also know that the worst effects are often felt by the most vulnerable patients- the elderly, the very young, and people that suffer from asthma or diabetes.”

The majority of the deaths due to the virus have been elders, closer to the age of 70. “Senior citizens have weakened immune systems, and that’s the thing with the virus; when the virus enters your cell it’s creating proteins that are fighting against our immune system proteins, so it’s kinda putting up a forcefield preventing the immune system from attacking the virus. Elderly people, their immune systems are weak anyhow, so that is why they’re so susceptible,” said Torda.

CDC recommends learning the facts and sharing them rather than spreading false information about the virus and causing stigma and anxiety. Torda said, “I don’t want to minimize the importance of it but we just need to take a breath and we will get through this. We’ve been through viruses before, as long as you’re being cautious, we will get through this.”