Schools Offer Virtual And In-Person Learning Options
August 6, 2020
The school year is creeping closer, and the Countywide & Sun has compiled reopening plans from the county’s various districts. If you don’t see your school here, it’s probably because we covered it in last week’s paper. Check our website for our coverage of the other districts’ reopening plans.
Most of the reopening plans reviewed by the Countywide & Sun also included specific details about plans for sanitization. For more details about specific sanitation practices, check your district’s website.
Masks are recommended, but will not always be required, as Bethel will be adhering to the color-coded system outlined by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Students should be prepared to bring two masks to school with them, should the threat-level of the area increase. According to the OSDE’s guidelines, some students will be required to wear masks if the district’s COVID-19 cases reach more than 1.43, but less than 14.39 cases per 100,000 people.
Bethel parents who wanted to enroll in virtual learning were to have their applications completed by July 31. In the event of an outbreak or temporary closure, all students may be expected to temporarily learn online using the district’s “virtual days.”
Parents should screen their children for symptoms before sending them to school, and students who miss for COVID-19 related reasons will not be counted absent so long as they maintain their school responsibilities while at home.
The traditional pathway will see children return to campus in person on August 14. According to Earlsboro’s reopening plan, this option will be almost like a normal school year. All students and staff members will be required to wear masks. Younger children and some students with health conditions will be provided with face shields rather than masks.
Parents are asked to bring children to and from school if possible, to help lower the number of students on the buses. Children from the same household will sit together on the bus, and all buses will have assigned seating.
Students who participate in virtual learning will be provided with a Chromebook, with parents being held responsible for any damages to the devices. Full-time virtual learning schedules will be available.
For students who want to learn virtually, but have an activity they’d like to stay involved in, there is the blended option. This option is essentially virtual learning, but with at least one on-site activity class. Students will not be able to switch from traditional to blended learning unless it is due to an illness.
Parents should screen their children for COVID-19 symptoms before sending them to school.
The blended learning option is largely a traditional instructional model with some added technological elements. While instruction will occur in a classroom setting on campus, the district will be using Google Classroom to provide flexibility. This flexibility will be valuable in the event of a school closure or absence.
The virtual learning option will be largely online, and will require students have access to the internet. If a device is needed, the district can provide one. The virtual pathway will not be live, and will be available for students to access at any time. Attendance for virtual students will be based on assignment completion, and scheduled virtual meetings with instructors.
Despite students not being on campus for virtual learning, these children will be expected to be on site for any state-mandated testing.
The comparison of blended and virtual learning on the district’s website said that distance learning will not look anything like the coursework packets from the spring closure.
• McLoud Public Schools: McLoud Public Schools plans to offer two options for their students this semester: face to face or distanced learning. The board will have considered the final reopening plan during a special meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
According to documents released by the Superintendent, the plan, which had not been approved by the board as of Aug. 4, will include three response options in the event of an outbreak: short or long-term closure of the district, and closing down individual building sites.
According to the academic options summary, McLoud expects about 80% of its students to attend face-to-face classes. This option will be like the traditional school day, with the exception that face coverings will be required for all students in 4-12 grade. Additionally, staff members, anyone riding a bus and all visitors entering a building will be required to wear some kind of face covering.
For students who opt for the distance learning option, Google classroom will be an important tool. For grades PreK-1, students will be given weekly packets, and caregivers will be responsible for day-to-day instruction and facilitating packet drop-off and pick-up. Students in grades 2-12 have the option of either weekly packets, or distance learning using Google Classroom.
The Google Classroom teaching platform will vary between classes, and will reflect each individual teacher’s unique teaching style.
• Pleasant Grove Public Schools: Pleasant Grove Public Schools has two options for students: distance and classroom learning.
For students returning to the classroom, school will resume largely as it normally would. However, students, employees, and visitors will be required to wear face masks any time they are within 6 feet of another person.
Parents are encouraged to screen their children before sending them to school, but Pleasant Grove may take the temperature of students on a random basis, or provide their own health screening based on observation or self-reports.
Parents and students should be prepared to learn from a distance in the event that a temporary closure is necessary.
Water fountains will be off, but hands free refilling stations for water bottles will be available. Students should consider bringing their own water bottles, and not sharing it with others.
Students participating in Pleasant Grove’s distance learning option will be using the Odysseyware Program. Parents may check out a device for their students to use if one is needed. Attendance will be based on assignments completed, and students will be required to meet virtually with the online teacher once per week.
Enrollment in the distance learning option will be reviewed at 9-week intervals. Parents must contact the school by August 13 to choose an option other than traditional learning.
• South Rock Creek: South Rock Creek Schools has not yet released a finalized reopening plan. When the school does release a plan, The Countywide & Sun will provide an update.