TAYLOR COUNTY—School boards around the state have been meeting to discuss possible solutions for school re-entry this fall, and on Thursday, the Taylor County Board of Education came up with their own proposed plan.
According to Taylor County Superintendent of School Christy Miller, during the meeting, the board determined a new school schedule, tiered plans to act accordingly and approved changes necessary due to the recently announced delay in starting the school year.
“The board voted to implement a staggered start with different grade levels reporting on different days,” she revealed. “This will allow for the deployment of technology while we introduce and practice the guidelines and requirements necessary to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”
As it currently stands, students in even grade levels (2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12), with last names beginning with the letters A-L, are set to return to school on Tuesday, September 8, while those in even grade levels, with last names M-Z will begin on Wednesday, September 9.
Then, on Thursday, September 10, students in grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11, with the last names beginning with A-L will report for in-classroom instructions, and on Friday, September 11, students with the last names beginning with M-Z in those grades will be welcomed back to school.
Because they typically have later starting dates than the older students, children in Pre-K and Kindergarten with last names A-L will be asked to attend in-classroom on Monday, September 14, and finally, on Tuesday, September 15, when Pre-K and Kindergarten students with last names beginning with M-L begin in-person classes, all Taylor County Students will be back in the classroom.
While the Coronavirus pandemic still makes plans uncertain, the Taylor County Board of Education’s School Re-Entry Task Force has come up with a tiered approach for school scheduling.
“We have come up with four options,” said Miller. “We have tried to cover the spectrum from our traditional schedule to remote learning. Because the virus leaves a great deal of unknown circumstances, these plans are fluid and will be based on the current status of the pandemic at the beginning of the school year.”
The four-tiered approach comes with different plans in each level. Temperature checks, bus sanitization and no bus transfers will occur daily with Tier 1, 2 and 3 options.
For example, Tier 1 is a traditional schedule, which would see students in the classroom five days a week, with mask wearing determined by the current status of the outbreak. In addition, visitors would be permitted in the school and daily cleaning and disinfecting would take place.
In a Tier 2 scenario, students would still report five days a week, masks would be required when social distancing was not an option, no visitors would be permitted past the foyers of the schools, daily cleaning and disinfecting would occur and on Saturdays, a deep cleaning would be performed.
Should the virus cause school officials to call for a Tier 3 approach, students would report to school on an alternating schedule to reduce the number of students within a classroom, mask use would be required, daily cleaning and disinfecting would take place, as well as a deep cleaning on both Wednesdays and Saturdays.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, students with last names beginning A-L would attend school for in-classroom instruction, while students with last names M-L would undergo remote learning from home. That scenario would be alternated for Thursdays and Fridays, with the A-L students taking part in at-home learning, while the M-L youths would report to school.
“In Tier 3, no one would report to schools on Wednesdays, and all students would need to take part in their at-home curriculum,” said Miller. “Wednesdays would be used as a teacher planning day, as well.”
Finally, if the virus should come back with a vengeance, Tier 4’s complete remote learning scenario would be put into effect.
“With Tier 4, no students would take part in in-school instruction, however student participation would be required daily. Even though they wouldn’t be in attendance at school, they would have to login to their iPad each school day,” explained Miller. “Students would have to have assignments completed by specified due dates and mastery grading would occur, as normal.”
Miller also noted that all Taylor County Schools would be starting their school day 30 minutes later and dismissing their students 30 minutes earlier than in previous years.
Now that the drafted plans have been drawn up, the Taylor County Board of Education is ready to answer questions and hear concerns that parents and guardians may have.
“There will be two opportunities for questions and answers on the startup and tiers related to the impact on daily classroom instruction the coronavirus may have during the 2020-2021 school year,” Miller noted. “We will be practicing social distancing and can only permit a total of 25 people in the board room at one time, and there will be personnel present to allow for each person attending to meet with the board.”
The first opportunity will be Tuesday, July 21, beginning at 6:00 p.m., at the Taylor County Board Office, located at 71 Utt Drive, in Pruntytown. The second opportunity will be Thursday, July 23, at 6:00 p.m., again at the Taylor County Board Office.
For those unable to attend in person but wish to address the board, they are offering options to join in on a Microsoft Teams Meeting. Those taking part in the remote meeting will need to email Mrs. Miller at [email protected] by 5:30 p.m., either evening, to request to address the board.
To join in on Tuesday’s meeting, participants may call 1-304-553-7794 and when prompted enter the conference ID number 770 979 627#.
The Thursday meeting call in number is 1-304-553-7794 and to join the call, individuals will need to utilize the 561 985 092# conference identification number.
Those with questions, who are unable to attend either of the meetings, can contact Miller by emailing the address above.
The complete Back to School Plan and Re-Entry Schedule may be viewed on the Taylor County School’s website, taylorcountyboe.net.
“Again, we want to remind parents and guardians that these plans are fluid and will depend on the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Miller imparted. “We are going to do our best to get students back in a classroom setting, because we understand the importance of in-person learning. Please bear with us during these unprecedented times.”