Program Updates from White River Valley School District
GOAL: RETURN TO SCHOOL SAFELY
The White River Valley School District is working on plans for students and staff to return to school for face-to-face learning in August. It is our goal to keep students, parents, and patrons up-to-date with the latest program information. We are working with the Indiana Department of Education, the Governor's Office, the Indiana State Health Department, and the Greene County Health Department to make sure we offer great education programs, while keeping students and staff safe and healthy. The WOLVERINE NEWS will be published on a bi-monthly basis for the rest of the summer as we move toward re-entry of students and staff to the school environment. Comments, questions, and concerns can be made by contacting Dr. Bob Hacker at 812-659-1424 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giving our Students Options
HERE'S OUR CURRENT SITUATION.....
WRVSD has a Return-to-School Team that is meeting on a regular basis to prepare a plan for bringing students and staff back on campus in early August for the start of the school year. Earlier this month, the Indiana Department of Education and the Governor's Office released a 38 page document of guidelines for Indiana schools. These were not requirements, but were strongly suggested. The strongest recommendation was to follow the guidelines given by the CDC and the local health department. After receiving that document, the Return Team started putting together our plan of attack. Last week, we met with the chief administrator for the Greene County Health Department. Her recommendation was to follow the CDC guidelines and the guidelines set forth by the Indiana Department of Education. What we are involved with is lots of guidelines with no requirements except to follow the CDC guidelines, which are changing from day-to-day. On top of this situation, we are also hearing from our liability insurance carrier and our Workmen's Compensation provider that if we don't follow the CDC guidelines then we are at-risk. We have also been in contact with our attorney for advisement. And so...you hopefully see the quandary that we are in here. Because of all these different factions, we are going to try to keep things as simple as possible and protect our students and our staff in every reasonable way.
The start of school is roughly eight weeks away, so we know that there is a high probability that the CDC guidelines will change between now and then. It seems there are always rumors that accompany these types of situations. If you have questions, we ask that you call/email Dr. Hacker at the Central Office. We will continue to put out Back-to-School information via these newsletters, which will be emailed to every student and parent in our Harmony system and also be posted on our school website and Twitter site (@WRVwolverines).
HERE ARE SOME OPTIONS...
FACE-TO-FACE (SCHOOL ATTENDANCE)
White River Valley School District is looking at all types of situations and solutions to be able to bring our students back on campus safely. As stated earlier, we are under the guidelines of the CDC recommendations. Those guidelines change on a weekly basis. We know that SOCIAL DISTANCING will be in effect; we know that GOOD HYGIENE HABITS will be stressed. We will have automatic water refill stations that will not involve touch for kids to have water. (Kids will have to bring their own water bottle.) We are prepared with "touchless" thermometers to take student and staff temperatures before boarding school transportation or entering the building. There will be one entrance only used at each of the three schools for entrance/exit purposes. Shared equipment will be limited and will be routinely deep cleaned. Playground equipment and sports equipment will be deep cleaned. A plan is being designed for safe food preparation and distribution within limited seating areas with social distance.
Our Return Team will continue working through the summer as we refine our normal operations. We know that right now the big question on everyone's mind regards the use of PPE (masks). We will see where the CDC stands on this issue as we get to August. All five Greene County School Districts will have to follow the CDC guidelines...whatever those are at the time we start back. It is our hope that social distancing can be achieved to the point where the CDC will relax the mask recommendations, but we cannot make that promise at this time. The Greene County Health Department is within their jurisdiction to shut down our school operations
Another question we are hearing involves this situation: what if a student or a staff member comes down with the virus? Right now, mitigation guidelines involve closing school from 2 to 5 days for deep cleaning. In that type of situation, we have a couple of choices. Distance learning is where class would be held via Google Meet online each day at its regular meeting time on video. Another choice would be our regular extended e-Learning program. Either way, we have been told that current plan at the DOE is not to grant any type of waiver. That means one way or the other we will have 180 days of school in 2020-21.
WOLVERINE ACADEMY--VIRTUAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
White River Valley School District was the first school system in Greene County to offer an online virtual program. We have had students and parents take advantage of our Wolverine Academy for the past five years. It is a combination school program that provides course curriculum through our online provider under the supervision of a school staff member. Both Mrs. Claire Records and Ms. Megan Padgett have served as our online teacher/coordinators. Student time on campus is limited to test-taking and the programs are earmarked to be completed away from the main school buildings, but still on school property. If this option is of interest to you, please contact your child's principal.
DISTANCE LEARNING DEVELOPMENT
Many colleges across the nation offer a program called distance education. WRVSD is exploring this option this summer. This would allow students the opportunity to attend class virtually, while viewing teacher presentations and course happenings in "real time." WRVSD was the first Greene County school district to offer one-to-one technology with the implementation of our iPad program, and we believe that this delivery model could be effective in these current times. As we explore this delivery model as an option for students and parents, internet access would be absolutely necessary to take advantage of this program once finalized.
Again, if you are interested in this type of delivery model, please contact your child's principal.
TEACHERS UNDERGOING TECHNOLOGY TRAINING
The WRVSD Technology Department is working with our professional staff this summer to help refine teacher technology implementation skills. Each teacher is completing twenty different technology technique lessons to help make our faculty even stronger at e-Learning and online instruction. We want our students to get everything they need for a quality education. That means we need to refine our e-Learning skills as a faculty to help instruction and assessment delivery.
We appreciate the work of our Technology Department (Mr. Shawn Brown, Mrs. Kylie Enochs, Ms. Megan Padgett, and Ms. Stephanie Watson) and the willingness of our teaching staff to continue to improve in this vital area.
White River Valley School District
WRVSD is a public school system located in central Greene County. The elementary school is located in Worthington and houses grades PK-Grade 4. The middle school is located in Lyons and houses grades 5-8. The high school (grades 9-12)is located in Switz City.