The Monroe County Community School Corporation approved its updated guidelines for the 2020 school year during the school board’s special meeting Tuesday evening.
Board members spent the last week going over feedback from parents on MCCSC’s preliminary draft released last week.
READ MORE: MCCSC Releases Draft On Fall Reopening
MCCSC Superintendent Judy DeMuth began the meeting saying much of the Corporation’s plans for reopening were in line with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which came out with a statement last week advocating for in-person learning. MCCSC students will have the option of in-person or online learning this upcoming school year.
“‘School policies must be flexible and nimble’ – that’s the one thing we keep telling everyone,” DeMuth said. “We’ve gotta be extremely flexible with this. This is all new territory.”
The change that led to the most discussion among board members was adding parameters for when students can remove face masks. The Corporation’s original plan called for masks to be worn at all times, “unless properly socially distanced, as determined by the teacher.”
Now, masks may be removed "as determined by the teacher (and in compliance with corporation parameters for removal)"
- During breakfast/lunch, if students are socially distanced 6 feet or more
- During outdoor recess, if socially distanced 6 feet or more
- During a 3-5 minute break, if socially distanced 6 or more feet, with all desks facing the same direction
Board member Sue Wanzer had concerns about the final bullet point, saying it could put teachers in a tough spot by providing them with too much discretion on when children could remove their masks. She also questioned how many breaks there would be in a day.
Assistant superintendent Markay Winston said the option for short breaks helps teachers set a precedent while acknowledging the difficulties students could have keeping masks on for an entire 8-hour school day.
“Our teachers have reported back to us, they want us to make the determination because they don’t wanna be in the uncomfortable position of having to talk with parents who say, ‘Well, Ms. Johnson said this,’ and ‘Mr. So-And-So said this,’” Winston said. “They are really looking for our guidance on this, so they don’t have their backs against the wall and have to make a decision that’s different from one of their teacher peers.”
Students who are medically fragile will be allowed to wear a face shield, as opposed to a "face covering," or mask.
The board discussed a variety of updates and changes to the reopening plan. The full updated plan can be found here.
Online Learning Changes
- Students will be allowed to change their learning preference (from online to in-person or vice versa) within the first two weeks of school. After that, students can change their learning method at the end of the semester.
Special Education – Online Learning Features
- Special education teachers will provide specially designed instruction and services through inclusionary and small group instructional practices to meet individual student needs, according to the student’s Individualized Education Program.
- Special education teachers will assess the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance for each student at the beginning of the school year to determine the student’s current level of achievement and areas for remediation.
- Special education teachers will collaborate with general education teachers on best practices for students with unique learning needs and how to implement students’ accommodations in the online learning environment.
Hybrid Learning Features
- Available for high schoolers
- Will combine in-school and online learning: students will go to school every other day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and do online instruction the other days (Tuesday, Thursday). The next week, that same segment of students will meet in person on Tuesday and Thursday, with online learning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
- Student athletes are allowed to participate in sports, but will need to be transported to and from school.
The school corporation will send out updated registration information on or before July 6 so families can select their preferred instructional model by July 20. Principals will share detailed plans for their schools by July 15.
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