MINGO JUNCTION-The Indian Creek Board of Education approved a preliminary plan to re-open its buildings this fall with potential scenarios based upon the course of COVID-19 in the community.
They are eyeing Aug. 19 as the opening date for classes.
However, said the plan’s delivery will be largely determined by state risk-level guidelines for the public.
This first plan would be utilized if Jefferson County were categorized as Levels 1 and 2, or yellow and orange, and would provide face-to-face instruction with an online option for parents or students who are not comfortable with returning to school.
Safety precautions would include health checks with temperatures taken at home and on the bus before school; required face masks for staff and students; physical distancing of six feet when possible; hand sanitizer in classrooms; cleaning supplies to sanitize work areas; expanded lunch room space; grab-and-go breakfast meals; no shared student supplies; no lockers; one-way hallways when possible; no field trips; and no large group student events.
Additionally, supplies will be provided for grades K-4. Students or parents who are uncomfortable with classroom learning may utilize the online option with pupils using Indian Creek Remote Learning 2.0. Once enrolled, those in grades 9-12 must remain online through Dec. 31 and students in grades K-8 must be enrolled online until Jan. 15, 2021. After either is completed, students have the opportunity to return to the classroom or remain online for the rest of the school year.
The second scenario involves a hybrid model used at Level 3, or red. At that point, only 50 percent will attend a school building to allow for a reduced number of pupils while providing a combination of in-person and online learning. All students attend in person two days per week and three days on alternating weeks, while they would also work at home on assignments or tasks assigned during the in-person days. Students will be placed into Groups A and B based on last name and households.
Should the county reach Level 4, or purple, the district will transition to remote learning and students will learn from home. Remote Learning 2.0 involves online learning through Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and/or standard district curriculum online and differs from Remote Learning 1.0, where emphasis was on suggested practice. Remote Learning 2.0 teaching and learning will continue at high levels and the expectations will be the same as if students were in the classroom.
“The board did pass a plan for restarting for the 20-21 school year. A lot will be handled at the building level and we know we have challenges [with wearing masks] because of the heat in some buildings. We might have distance learning on some days because kids can’t wear masks in 90-degree weather,” said Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear.
“We look forward to working with the teachers and staff and we know it’s an unprecedented time. Our teachers worked harder than ever to prepare for online instruction this year. It’s hard to be excited about it because it’s a difficult situation, but I’m proud of our teachers and staff,” he said.
He said a plan had to be approved on a policy level but still needed some fine tuning, and a video will be released to parents with more details while leaders will continue to monitor the situation.
Also, ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick credited her teachers with attending a recent learning cadre about online instruction and said they were preparing for classes no matter the scenario.
The board also approved a one-year extension on its current contract with the Indian Creek Education Association. Leaders agreed to roll over the bargaining agreement with the teacher’s union, and ICEA President Karen Lloyd thanked administrators for previously taking a salary freeze in solidarity with the teachers.
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