Greenon schools announce two learning models for fall reopening plan

Greenon Local Schools is giving families the option to choose from two models on how their children will attend school in the fall, the district’s superintendent said.

“We plan to begin the school year in session for full school days each weekday, and to be learning together in-person as much as we can. To make that happen, we have to put recommended strategies in place to reduce the risk of our children or our dedicated teachers and staff becoming ill,” said Superintendent Darrin Knapke.

The ‘Safely ReuKNIGHTed Plan’ includes the option to learn in-person or learn at-home.

Students who learn in-person will attend school for a full-day, every week day with strategies in place to limit the risk of spreading the virus. These strategies include social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing, and cleaning and disinfecting.

Students who learn at-home will do so through a virtual learning platform. If remote learning numbers are high enough, a Greenon teacher may be assigned to manage the platform. Families are encouraged to consider internet and device access when selecting this option.

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Knapke said families will need to continue their selected attendance model for the first full semester and will only be able to change models at the end of the semester in January 2021.

If at anytime during the year local and state guidelines change, a hybrid learning model may become necessary, Knapke said. If this happens, students would be split into two groups - one would attend Monday and Tuesday and the other would attend Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays would be used for distance learning as students will have assignments to complete this day, and for extra sanitation and disinfecting at the schools.

“We will follow the recommendations of the state and local health officials, and if necessary based on local circumstance, will adjust our plan to continue keeping our students and staff safe and moving forward in learning,” Knapke said.

One parent said she is leaning more towards the virtual learning option for her three children.

“We are leaning towards virtual for the first semester while they are figuring out what this will all look like and how they are handling exposures,” said Tori LeMaster, who has a 7, 10 and 13-year-old. “I do like that Greenon is offering a change at each semester versus making a decision for the whole year.”

Overall, LeMaster said the district has covered some of the questions that families have.

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“It’s a comprehensive plan and they have covered a lot of unknowns that parents are concerned of,” she said. “I think what is missing is what happens when there is an exposure in a child’s classroom?”

All staff will be required to wear a mask or face covering, unless it is unsafe or interferes with learning, and it is strongly recommended for students to wear one, especially when riding the bus or outside of the classroom, Knapke said.

Parents are also asked to assess their child’s health and symptoms each day before school, including temperature checks.

LeMaster said she thinks children wearing face masks can be unrealistic.

“I think it’s unrealistic to think they won’t be wiping noses and chewing on them and wearing them incorrectly. I would prefer to see kids able to be spaced out to avoid wearing masks,” she said.

Knapke also proposed to change the school start date from Aug. 17 to Aug. 24 to allow for staff training to prepare for the reopening. This will include implementing social distancing, preparing for alternative learning possibilities and ensuring the district can meet student academic and support needs.

Today, the district plans to share more information about illness policies, hand washing and sanitizing, and disinfecting and cleaning.

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