Clark-Shawnee schools develop guiding principles for fall reopening

Clark-Shawnee Local Schools has started to develop guiding principles that will help make decisions regarding the reopening in the fall, the district’s superintendent said in preliminary plans to the school board.

“We have started unpacking guidelines and discussing what needs to be done to safely reopen,” said Superintendent Brian Kuhn.

The district’s guiding principles that will help reopening decisions are:

  • To provide academic instruction for social and emotional support as they "continue to serve" the students, Kuhn said. He said he knows there lots of anxiety and he wants to make sure students are doing well in all areas.
  • To provide parents choices regarding the level of risk they are comfortable with and may offer options to families on how to receive instruction, such as face-to-face or 100% virtual or remote learning.
  • To align school operations based on many factors, Kuhn said. For example, if Clark County is in a high level when school starts, the district may provide a hybrid model with remote and face-to-face learning.
  • To have pragmatic and responsible safe guards. "Our goal is to do what we can, when we can and where we can," Kuhn said. For example. instead of using sanitized water fountains, parents can mitigate that risk with sending kids to school with water bottles; instead of riding the school bus, parents can pick up and drop off students; and instead of face-to-face, parents can opt in to participate in remote or virtual instructions.

READ: Springfield City Schools present initial fall reopening plans

The district sent out a survey to students, their families and staff and has received great responses so far, with 730 community responses and over 135 staff responses, Kuhn said.

“We are trying to gather as many data points as they are key because that informs decisions the district is making regarding the reopening plan,” he said.

Kuhn said he has been having weekly meetings with county superintendents and health commissioners to work on reopening plans, and hopes by collaborating it will make all plans stronger when schools reopen.

“I think the plan will be a quality plan that will allow us to resume,” he said.

Other plan elements that are still being discussed and decided include face coverings, temperature checks and transportation, Kuhn said.

However, he said he wants to put together “a reasonable policy for face coverings” and that the district has to “be reasonable in their approach.” He also said there will be a sheet that families are asked to look at each day with questions about their child before they send them to school, such as symptom checks and health screenings.

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Kuhn said he hopes to have more elements of the plan together no later than July 20 as many plans still need to be discussed and approved by the health commissioner and other administration and officials.

“Our goal is to be transparent and forthcoming with elements after going through appropriate channels,” he said.

Kuhn also wants to make changes to the academic calender by pushing back the current start date of Aug. 26 by at least one week.

“We need time for staff training… training on reopening protocols, on staff procedures, allow time for classrooms to be prepared and arranged, and other tasks associated with reopening,” Kuhn said.

There are two options - start students a week later on Sept. 2 or start students a day after Labor Day on Sept. 8, Kuhn said.

He did note that neither option changes the school end date or vacation days.

“We just need time for teacher training to be prepared for what this school year might bring,” Kuhn said.

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