The Warren County School District gave parents three options for a return to school in the fall, back to buildings, online learning or a combination of both.
With 1,300 responses in, the message from parents is clear. They want their children back in school buildings when the school year starts Sept. 1.
Speaking during the special meeting of the WCSD Board of Directors Monday night, Superintendent Amy Stewart said of those 1,300 responses, “76 percent are choosing school.”
A return to brick and mortar learning was listed as Option 1 in a letter sent to district parents, enrollment in the district’s Virtual Academy was Option 2 and a combination of both online and in-person learning was Option 3. The remaining 24 percent of responses were split evenly between Options 2 and 3.
The results come after Stewart and other district administrators spent the last week meeting, virtually, with parents and teachers throughout the district. The district’s plan is to provide a continuous flow of information as it comes, instead of giving a bulk of updates less frequently.
“I think it’s smart to put out frequent updates as we get them,” Stewart said. “The more information we put out there the better. We’ve been getting lots of positive feedback and we’re doing everything in our power right now to get the message out there.”
Part of that message includes a video series (see story) where Stewart breaks down each part of the reopening plan, and explains new state requirements as they come in.
“The videos answer lots of questions for people,” she said.
The one question that seems to pop up more than anything else is about masks, or face coverings. As of Monday’s meeting, masks/face coverings are required for both students and staff.
“Masks are the biggest topic of conversation,” Stewart said. “Dr. Levine is saying masks are required for school. This seems to be the ticket to have schools open and kids in schools.”
One state mandate that doesn’t apply to schools, at least for now, is the indoor occupancy limit.
“We had webinars Thursday and Friday last week and we were told the 25 in a building does not apply to schools in that fashion,” Stewart said.
The board also cleared one more return to school hurdle Monday night as it voted to approve contracts for an adjustment to building heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
“We’re attempting to maximize our HVAC systems,” Director of Buildings and Grounds Services, Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht said. “We want to have these people come in and make the adjustments, then we have to balance each system.”
The board approved contracts with the Scobell Company and Rabe Environmental Systems to provide recalibration and balancing. Neither contract is to exceed $20,000.