Lanesville students head to classroom
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]
The Lanesville Community School Corp. met last Tuesday night where the majority of the meeting was spent discussing the back-to-school plan for the 2020-21 school year.
Today (Wednesday) marks the first day of the new school year for students at Lanesville, the first school corporation in Harrison County to return in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With a motion made by Chan Bailey, and seconded by Ron Wolfe, the board approved in a 3-0-2 vote the school re-opening plan, which offers both an in-person and virtual option for students. Sharon Rothrock and Margaret Meyer abstained from the vote. However, this vote didn’t come without much discussion.
As of yesterday (Tuesday), about 8% of the students were expected to attend school virtually.
“I want us to be able to look back in a year or two from now and feel that we made the right decision on this,” Robert (Bob) Schickel, the board president, said. “We have never had a discussion as a board that was as serious as the one we had tonight. I want our kids to get the education they deserve, and I want them to be in a classroom if that is where they want to be. Anything can change at a moment’s notice, and I think we will be ready to adapt when that occurs.”
Teachers from both Lanesville Elementary and the junior-senior high school were in attendance to voice their concerns and share their thoughts regarding the re-opening plan.
“I love these kids, and teaching is my passion,” one teacher shared. “I want to be in the classroom with them, but I am terrified I can’t give them the space they need to be safe. What kind of quality instruction am I going to be able to give from the corner of my classroom?”
“I’ve been getting the information the parents are receiving because I am a Lanesville parent as well as a teacher, but I don’t know how, as a teacher, I am going to be able to give them what we are promising,” another teacher shared. “I feel like I am in a tent outside as a hurricane is about to come through.”
Many teachers were in favor of a hybrid method for school, which would have a portion of students coming Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while the other students attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The board addressed this and said, while it was an option, the scheduling behind that model would be extremely difficult to pull off, both for staff and parents.
“There will be damage done to the children in terms of education no matter what from this,” Bailey said. “We are just trying to do what we feel is best for the majority in this situation.”
Superintendent Steve Morris, who is also the junior-senior high school principal, noted that students will be required to have masks on their person at all times and that the school will be following an “if you move, you mask” style of thinking. He also said teachers and staff will have masks, face shields and a desk barrier provided for them.
Students have until the end of August to switch to virtual learning or to return to school if they choose to do so.
“COVID isn’t going away,” Morris said. “Having to deal with this is unprecedented. We are making decisions backed by the health department, the county and the state. There is truly no way to make everyone happy with any decision because, frankly, right now, it’s hard to find that happiness anywhere.
“We are prepared to adapt as things change, and they will,” he said.