CHESAPEAKE, OH (WOWK) – A new change in plans for one Ohio school system.

Chesapeake schools will now learn remotely in the fall, with no other options. 

“They had a board meeting that nobody knew about,” said Jamie Eplion, a mother of Chesapeake students. “And then the next thing we knew there was a Facebook post that said ‘we are all virtual’… and I said are you serious? You cannot do that! It is two weeks before school is supposed to start!”

Parents of Chesapeake students are upset about the sudden change in plans for the fall; a change that came just ten days before the first day of school.

“Is it they can’t meet the standards? Do they not have the money to meet the standards the health department put out? We don’t know because no one is telling us,” said Les Smith, a father of three Chesapeake High School students.

The school board decided to have its students learn remotely for the first nine weeks of the school year, with no other option.

“I think it would’ve been better if we had the option to do it,” said Amanda Chafin, a mother of three students – an elementary aged child, a middle schooler, and a high schooler. “They gave us the option originally and then just took it away so we had very little time to workout a plan.”

“It’s not fair,” said Eplion. “Like at least give it a chance. See what happens. Chesapeake is a very small school. And then you have Farland going, South Point going…”

The neighboring cities… having in-person classes.

“We’re the only school doing virtual,” said Smith. “The question is why. Is it unpreparedness? Is it that we don’t have the funds to get the school set to let the kids safely in? This is stuff the parents have never been told.”

So, I asked the school board president about the decision.

“The local health board is the one who told us we can’t do it,” said Arthur Suiter, president of Chesapeake school board. “They said ‘you have to have a certain amount of distancing’ and we cannot meet those requirements.”

He adds classroom sizes at Chesapeake are too big to allow for social distancing.

Sports were also originally canceled, but less than 24 hours later, the school board decided to let them play after Governor DeWine’s change in restrictions.

“It just wasn’t safe for us to go ahead and do that with the restrictions he imposed,”said Suiter. “After he lifted those, of course that put is under the bus haha so we had to go ahead and do that.”

But now, parents are wondering- why can you do one thing, but not the other?

“If they can do sports – which is a good thing – then they shouldn’t have to do virtual learning. they should be in school,” said Smith.

Every parent we spoke with said – if it’s a financial problem, they are willing to help out. 

They say they just want answers – and aren’t getting any.

“The original plan they had sounded really good,” said Chafin. “I just don’t understand why they’re not going through with that plan.

“Remote learning would be fine, had everyone been part of the conversation or part of the conversation in this ruling,” said Smith. “They did it in closed session – then passed the word out. With no explanation as to why.”

The school board president says AT&T is helping set up ‘hot spots’ in school buses that will be placed around Chesapeake, so students can have free access to the internet.

He also said they purchased 1,500 chromebooks for students, and they will be handed out before the first day of school.