BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) - Many parents in the Wabash Valley are wondering what the upcoming school year will look like. The Clay Community School Board has just approved a plan for safe re-entry.
Superintendent of Clay Community Schools Jeff Fritz says this re-entry plan was an incredibly labor-intensive process. They’ve been working on it for several weeks. He spoke to News 10 about what they focused on when making, what they are calling, the 2020-2021 school year roadmap.
Fritz says nine teams of school staff and health officials helped develop the plan. He says the community risk level will be the driving force in what happens. They also outlined protocols on when a student is infected with COVID-19.
Three risk levels have been established with different strategies in place. Green signifies little to no spread of the virus in their area and yellow means a minimal to moderate spread. In these two areas, traditional, in-person instruction will continue to be held. There will be modifications in place if necessary.
Red, however, means a substantial spread is happening. Enhanced E-learning would take place at that point. Fritz says there was a lot to consider when creating this roadmap.
He says they will lean heavily on health professionals, and the local health department will drive their decisions this school year.
“They will pretty much dictate to us if we are shutting down our schools,” Fritz said, “Whether it be one school with an outbreak, or whether we have a community spread. We have the flexibility if we wanted to shut down schools ourselves. But again, we are not health professionals, we’re educators.”
The roadmap also includes an option for students to actually stay home if their parents choose.
Risk management, meals, transportation, and protocols for if a student becomes sick were the main areas of focus. Fritz says they also focused on different learning platforms. If you still want your child to stay home, Clay Community’s new virtual academy may be just the thing for you.
Fritz says they’ve used the e-learning platform for a while now, but this virtual academy is brand new.
He says all students K-12 will have chrome books this upcoming school year. This is new for elementary students.
Fritz says there are a ton of benefits to the virtual academy. He says it protects student enrollment which is vital for the Schools’ financial security and health.
Administrators and teachers can also easily monitor student progress. Above all else, though, Fritz says this can provide a platform for students to be able to stay home if their parent or guardian feels more comfortable that way.
“We certainly want to provide an opportunity and a platform for those parents who may be concerned, initially, to send their children back,” Fritz concluded, “We’re hoping that most parents will choose the traditional route. We still feel that that is the most viable learning platform. That in-person, direct instruction in the traditional classroom setting—we feel is the best.”
Fritz says they have researched the virtual academy program extensively. They feel good about it, and they also feel good about the plan they have in place as they set to welcome students back to the classroom this fall.