School opens Monday to in-person classes
September 3, 2020
POMEROY––The School District (PSD) opened to in-person instruction August 31, with a Health District-approved plan.
Part of the plan includes Superintendent Rachel Gwinn and Health District Administrator Martha Lanman meeting on a weekly basis to assess changes in students, staff and community, and modify protocols when needed. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was expected to arrive the week prior to school opening.
Some clarifications and changes to the original plan were discussed at the PSD School Board Meeting on Monday, August 24, 2020, which include how a positive case of COVID-19 within the student body or staff would be handled, which was described as on a “case by case” basis. The Health District will determine how to proceed. The school will be requiring students and staff to wear masks, but during times when social distancing of six feet or more is in place, masks will be recommended, but not required.
The clear plastic shields that are available to wear in place of cloth masks will be acceptable as long as they cover the face well below the chin. The daily screening of students and staff will occur before leaving home for school by logging in to Skyward, the PSD’s Family Access Parent Portal, and completing a questionnaire by 8 a.m.
Lunches will be served in the cafeteria for Junior High and High School students, rather than in classrooms as outlined before. The usual round lunch tables will be replaced with desks and spread out for students to sit independently in the cafeteria, as well as the gym play deck. Students will be encouraged to eat outside, or leave campus during lunch when possible.
Teachers spent the week prior to opening, training on Google classroom, to create a better online learning atmosphere and more active student participation and interaction during class. All assemblies will be accomplished virtually, and there will be an emphasis in the seventh grade Digitools class on how to use these new platforms from home, if the need arises.
There have been some changes in enrollment numbers, as reported by Gwinn. At the elementary school, four students will be taking advantage of the distance learning option through the PSD, two students have registered with separate online schools, and two will be home schooled. At the Jr./Sr. High, Principal Amy Miller reported three students will distance learn through the PSD, two will attend separate online schools, three will home-school, and six students were still unaccounted for after registration August 17.
Also School Board approved was the School Improvement Goals for the elementary and Jr./Sr. high schools, which remain mostly unchanged from the 2019-20 plan. The board approved the Highly Capable Plan without changes; there will be no “pull-out” of elementary students from their regular classrooms. The district will also be moving from a “targeted assistance” program for Title I assistance to specific students, to a “school-wide” program which will benefit all students, and allows the district to use Title I funding in a more flexible manner, and the teachers to work with all students on specific skills.
The PSD now has an updated school calendar for the 2020-21 school year. Dates have been set for early release days, which will be at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 17, Oct. 2 and 30, Dec. 4, Jan. 22, Feb. 12, March 19, April 2, May 14, and June 7 and 8. School will be closed Sept. 7 for Labor Day, Sept. 18 for Fair Day, Nov. 11 for Veteran’s Day, Nov. 26 and 27 for Thanksgiving, Dec. 21 through Jan. 1 for Winter Break, Jan. 18 for MLK Day, Feb. 15 for President’s Day, April 5 through 9 for Spring Break, and May 31 for Memorial Day. Fall parent/teacher conferences have been set later this school year, on Nov. 23 and 24, and the Spring conferences will be March 31 and April 1. The last day of school is June 9. There are no flex days included in the calendar, because the PSD will utilize the distance learning plans if there is a need to close the school for snow days, and there will be no State Basketball tournament.
The next school board meeting has been set for Sept. 28, 2020, at 6 p.m. in the Shepherd Room of the elementary school.