When learning for 16,800 Lakota students begins again in August, it may happen in four different ways depending on tentative plans discussed in detail for the first time publicly by school board members Monday evening.
And all four plans for resuming schooling amid the coronavirus threat are dependent on what state and local health officials may require in directives expected to be released within days by Gov. Mike DeWine.
A “Plan A” would involve bringing all students back to their schools for in-person learning but with coronavirus preventative measures in place including requiring all students to wear masks unless they are six feet from others among many other changes in classrooms, buildings and buses.
Lakota district officials and board members said this is the most desirable strategy and the one the school system is preparing for unless otherwise ordered by health officials to conduct learning in a different fashion.
In general, Lakota’s possible “Plan B” would have grades K-6 attending in-person classes five days a week but students in grades 7-12 would be on alternating day schedules – determined alphabetically - to reduce the number of teens in school buildings and classrooms. Non-school attendance days would require them to learn from home.
“Plan C” would kick in if state officials again order all schools closed. It would largely resemble the at-home, digital learning Lakota officials installed in March when all Ohio K-12 schools were shuttered in reaction to the coronavirus. Officials, said however, this method will be much improved this time around.
And school parents will also have a fourth, “virtual learning option,” which parents could sign up their children for and the students will learning entirely from home at least through the first half of the school year.
But Matt Miller, superintendent of Lakota, said Plan A is the district’s primary plan for now unless health officials later say otherwise.
“We know it’s not perfect but we are trying to get our kids back to as much as a regular routine as possible,” Miller told the school board, which meet in a board work session broadcast on Zoom as a coronavirus precaution.
Board member Julie Shaffer said given the lack of state directives at this point “we might have to pivot.”
But she added “I’m glad we hoping for Plan A but also ready to go to Plan B or C.”
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