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SH schools look to start new year in August

SH schools look to start new year in August SH schools look to start new year in August
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

During last week’s South Harrison Community School Corp. board meeting, members addressed their plan for returning to school this fall and how the input of the families in the community would help them gauge how they will move forward.

All parents or guardians of students in the South Harrison school community were encouraged to fill out a survey that was sent out to them last week. The survey covered a variety of topics including: reliability of cell phone service and internet access at homes, what transportation service students use and if parents would prefer if their student went to school in person or virtually for the coming academic year.

A committee composed of Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Tami Geltmaker and other leaders in the school community will compile the survey results and reconvene to review the numbers to make more ultimate decisions.

“Each school will have to focus on different parts of our plan based on what aspects are most applicable to them,” Geltmaker said. “We will work with each principal to drill down the specifics of how each building will be handling things.”

Many of the normalities of school that students are used to will be a bit different. Assemblies of large gatherings will not be held, classrooms will not have community baskets that are normally used for sharing books, calculators or pencils, lunch will be served in the classrooms and desks and tables will all face the same direction.

Staff is being required to participate in training regarding communicable diseases and bloodborne pathogens. Janitorial and maintenance staff will have ongoing training about cleaning procedures, as well.

Should parents or guardians have concern about COVID-19, a virtual option is currently under construction with the South Harrison staff. It will be an option that is completely online, much like the last few months of the recent school year. Internet must be available for that student to choose this option as there will be no packet option. Students who choose the virtual classroom option will not be allowed to participate in extracurricular school activities.

“Virtual schooling isn’t a good fit for everyone, but for some people it is the better option so we want to make it work for them,” Geltmaker said. “We are thinking of having a teacher per grade who does the virtual learning for kindergarten to sixth grade. For grades 7 through 12, we will have to do something a little different, which will depend on how many students we have interested in the virtual option.”

The 2020-21 school year is still set to start on time, with the first day for teachers and staff on Aug. 3 and the first day for students Aug. 4.

As information about COVID-19 continues to evolve, so will the actions of South Harrison Community School Corp. The committee members who are making the plans for the upcoming school year are in contact with the Indiana Dept. of Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Harrison County Health Dept. in order to determine the actions needed to ensure a safe school year.
Eastridge also used the board meeting as a time to thank and show appreciation to the student council representatives for the 2019-20 school year. They were Caden Cunningham, Annabelle Faith, Marie Goodwin and Preston Hedden from South Central and Meagan Jennings and Sarah Bailey from Corydon Central.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 7, at 7 p.m.