Parents have option for virtual classes

A special Chariton School Board meeting was held July 27 to discuss the Return to Learn plan for opening up school this fall and what it will include for both virtual and in classroom learning.

The board passed a motion at the meeting that reads as follows: “School will resume, in person, with a virtual option per parents’ discretion. Masks will be recommended in school, but will be required on the school bus when more than 13 students are present. School staff will be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when they are within six feet of other staff and students.”

In a letter Superintendent Larry Achenbach sent out to school district families this past Tuesday, two options were offered for families to consider for the start of the 2020-21 school year including both an in person, face to face option and a completely virtual learning program option.

In the Virtual Learning program option, students will receive instruction through a remote curriculum program, which could include online learning, learning through packets, daily communication from the school, etc.

The virtual learning option at the end of this past school year was optional, but the one offered for 2020-21 will be required. Attendance is required and will be taken daily and academic work will be graded and daily grades will be earned.

Regardless of which option people choose, students will have about two weeks or from Aug. 24, to Sept. 4 to decide if the option they have chosen, in person or virtual, is the best option for them for the upcoming school year. Starting Sept. 8, students will have to stay with their chosen option for the rest of the first semester.

After the first semester is done, students will again have the option of choosing which option they want to go with for the second semester. The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 24.

Supt. Achenbach said in his letter to families that the district may have to move between plans and/or make changes based on new guidance received from state and local officials.

“We will communicate changes as they occur, in the most expedient means possible including by website, Facebook, and emergency messages,” Achenbach said in the letter.

Achenbach stressed the importance of communication at the special meeting as well. “Communication is key. We’ll have to keep parents updated weekly on how things are going,” Achenbach said at the meeting.

It was asked at the meeting if a student or staff member came down with COVID-19 during school how the district would handle it.

“If someone tests positive, that’s turned over to County Public Health and then they do contact tracing. We need to keep seating charts in classrooms because if someone were to get COVID-19, the seating charts would help with contact tracing to see where the student was and who was around them,” Achenbach said.

Achenbach also said that students’ temperatures will be taken as they walk into school, not before they get on the bus.

“Taking temperatures isn’t just COVID related, but it’s also our policy. If you have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, then you shouldn’t be in school whether you have COVID-19 or not,” Achenbach said.

“Have you had a chance to meet with the administrative team to discuss how lunchtime will work during school? “ Board member Sarah Willis asked Achenbach.

Read the August 4, 2020 edition of the Chariton Leader/Herald-Patriot for the rest of the story.

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