North, South Harrison schools open without hitch
Joey Bowling, Intern, [email protected]
North and South Harrison, the last two public school corporations in Harrison County to begin their 2020-21 academic year, largely started last week without a hitch.
Dr. Lance Richards, superintendent of the North Harrison Community School Corp., said getting the Chromebooks lent out during the summer back proved to be a small challenge. The corporation ordered about 900 books, but only about 375 had been turned in. He said the administration will redistribute them as more books come back.
“Those kinds of challenges are expected the first time,” he said.
Relatively speaking though, the county plan crafted between the three public school districts and the Harrison County Health Dept. has been a success, Richards said. Parents call the schools giving updates, prescreening their children for symptoms, and asking the school if the kids should attend for the day.
Richards said a benefit of Lanesville Community School Corp. starting a week before the others is it worked as a trial run. When four COVID-19 cases popped up, other districts could watch it go through the county plan and see the process in action, from alerting the health department, contact tracing and cleaning the schools.
“Lanesville followed through with the policy,” Richards said. “They were out for a day and then back in,” he said.
The transition to digital will be easier each day the school has, where it can distribute more Chromebooks and educate students about contingency plans. Even if a month from now the school district has to close down, Richards said it would be worth it.
“For the neediest of our children, we have to try,” he said.
South Harrison Community School Corp.’s superintendent, Dr. Mark Eastridge, said his district has been doing well in the first week since opening.
There are two different situations when entering into the school year, Eastridge said. There’s the game plan, one where everything is laid out and planned down to brass tacks, then reality sets in. The second plan is the adjustments being made as the school year, or even day, continues, focusing on adapting to different problems.
“I thought they were playing a zone defense; well, no, it’s man-to-man, so it’s making those game decisions as situations arise,” he said.
Eastridge said he was very proud of the students and staff wearing their masks. He said he’s heard only a few stories of students forgetting them and even then teachers are prepared with extras for when that happens. He said students are also enjoying the time when they can unmask if a teacher decides to have class outside and spread out students.
The numbers for in-person and virtual students should solidify soon. He said he’s hoping everyone can make their decisions by the end of the week, so the district can continue nailing down how to logistically accommodate everyone.