School Board Approves Delayed Reopening

Schools to Start Aug. 17 - Reopening Plan Approved
Posted on 07/20/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Schools to Start Aug. 17 - Reopening Plan ApprovedAt the board meeting for Weakley County Schools on Monday night, the reopening of district schools was pushed back to August 17, allowing for more time for the arrival of ordered but hard-to-come-by resources. The board also approved a plan to provide traditional in-person and in-class instruction with social distancing and other precautions in place. A Remote Learning option in case of a future school closure due to COVID-19 was also agreed upon as well as a Monitored Distance Education plan for students whose health or family circumstances prevent returning to the classroom.

“Planning for ongoing high quality learning engagement during a time of a pandemic is difficult,” noted WCS Director of Schools Randy Frazier. “When information and guidance changes so frequently, we will be making decisions that are correct one day and wrong the next. We have proposed a plan we believe places the safety and health of our students and staff as a priority. But we need everyone to understand the plan is fluid and will be adjusted. We will be depending on the community’s cooperation and patience.”

A discussion of the latest active cases in the County as well as the training that will be needed to ensure a seamless move into Remote Learning, should that option be required, led the board to shift the scheduled August 3 opening day to August 17.

“I can’t in good faith or clear conscience vote for a return to our schools without resources for all the safety measures in place,” said Board Chair Steve Vantrease before voting in favor of the change to August 17.

The 12-page reopening document approved by the Board included adjustments for health and safety as related to operations, protocols for if a student or staff member contracts COVID-19, an overview of steps the transportation and nutrition staffs will take to adhere to state and national guidance, and a summary of the academic plans for returning to campuses, remote learning in the event of school closures, and a Monitored Distance Education approach that will allow for children whose health conditions or family circumstances prevent a return to school.

Monitored Distance Education will be a semester-long commitment and applications will be available from school principals.

“We want to make a distinction between our Monitored Distance Education and ‘home schooling,’” Frazier recently told a group of administrators and staff gathered to finalize the document that was approved. “Home school-ers are using a curriculum other than that of the Weakley County Schools system and parents are responsible for grading, reporting to the state, etc. Students who use our MDE option will still be Weakley County Schools’ students. An assigned teacher will be checking attendance and grading their work. We just won’t be able to offer them the individualized attention they would receive in a classroom.”

Attention in the Remote Learning option will be provided as teachers move from in-class interactions to phone calls, Zoom meetings, and Google Classroom. Teachers in pre-K through 5th grade will be using tool kits with daily lessons and assignments. Teachers in 6th through 12th grades will be relying on Google Classroom. They will also have regular office hours so that students can contact them outside of the regularly scheduled teacher/student meetings online.

Frazier told the board that at the August 6 board meeting he will bring suggested calendar changes needed to accommodate the later opening.

To read or download a copy of the Weakley County Schools Reopening 2020-21 document, click here. To view Frequently Answered Questions, click here

To view the board meeting as recorded via Zoom, please click here.

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