Schools traversing uncharted waters

School districts are working feverishly to develop lesson plans for students for the rest of the school year, even though the school buildings will remain closed, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Online classes will be featured for the next two months.


Local News

March 23, 2020 - 10:39 AM

Courtesy photo
Kay Lewis

Students may be staying at home, but area teachers and administrators are back at work, figuring out how to educate them for the rest of the year. Meals will be available to students starting today in Iola and Humboldt, and Tuesday for Marmaton Valley.

Area districts released announcements via social media about the preliminary steps they will take to determine a new “Continuous Learning Plan.”

On March 17, the state canceled classes for the remainder of the year. Days later, a task force released guidelines that will serve as a framework, with each district expected to determine their plans this week and announced by March 30.

Among the guidelines issued by the task force, each district’s plans can include a mix of technology (virtual) and face-to-face (in small groups), so that students are not just receiving copies of worksheets or hours of screen time. 

The recommendations also limit the time students are expected to spend on learning each day. The following are the maximum student commitment time each day:

— Preschool: 30 minutes

— Grades K-1: 45 minutes

— Grades 2-3: 60 minutes

— Grades 4-5: 90 minus

— Grades 6-12: 30 minutes per teacher (3 hours max in a day)

Humboldt Superintendent Kay Lewis posted information about the school’s early steps on creating a plan.The district will work with families and students who have unique situations and needs, she said. For example, not all students have access to the internet. The buildings will maintain Wi-Fi service, so students and parents can sit in the parking lot to access the service.

“Parents and community members have been extremely supportive through what I know are times filled with anxiety and uncertainty,” she wrote on a Facebook post. “While this situation is far from ideal, by working together, I have no doubt that we have the opportunity to make this our finest hour.”

Iola High School principal Scott Crenshaw posted a video on Facebook Sunday morning, telling students to expect their academic advisers to contact them to assess technology needs.

The district will start by sending home paper packets by March 30, and determine where to go from there. Teachers and administrators will conduct an online meeting this morning.

“I know everybody is a little worried. Some people are a flat out scared,” Crenshaw said. “We’re going to get through this. We’ll get through this together.”

MEANWHILE, districts will start offering pre-packaged “Grab-N-Go” lunches at various locations and times. See Saturday’s Register for more information, or check social media accounts for the various districts to see the schedule.

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