As they piece together plans for reopening schools in the face of a virus pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans, local districts are seeking parents’ feedback.
This week, the Bowling Green Independent School District shared an online survey that asks parents for their preference of either an Aug. 6 or Aug. 24 start date.
Other questions ask about parents’ comfort level with sending their children to school, which type of instructional format they prefer and whether they can provide masks for their children if they’re required to be worn.
“Once again, this is all very fluid,” BGISD Superintendent Gary Fields said Monday.
Fields noted that reopening guidance from the state is continuing to evolve and cited a previous recommendation that schools avoid packing students tightly together on buses.
“That guidance, it was turned on its head within a matter of five to seven days,” he said, noting that the current recommendation is to have students wear masks during their commute to school on buses operating at their normal capacity.
During a school board meeting this week, Fields said the district is planning for an Aug. 6 start date, but he suggested there could be some advantages to starting later. Those include watching other districts to see “what worked and what didn’t work,” and some added flexibility in exactly how many days school would need to be in session.
The school board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is July 13, and Fields said parents should know more by then.
Likewise, Warren County Public Schools is also planning to gather feedback from parents for its own reopening plans.
During an interview Thursday with D93 WDNS-FM radio host Tony Rose, Superintendent Rob Clayton said the district is aiming for Aug. 5 as its back-to-school day. That decision is subject to change, however.
WCPS will release its own survey soon, Clayton said.
“It will probably be another week or so before we get that information to our parent community,” he said.
Parents should know more about the district’s plans in early July, he said.
Clayton also took the opportunity to describe several restart subcommittees that are working under the auspices of a task force. These groups are focusing on ways to ensure the health and safety of students and staff, what teaching and learning might look like, how to support students with additional academic needs and continue district operations.
It’s clear to Clayton that instruction will include some form of distance learning, which he’s said must be different than the nontraditional instruction students experienced this spring.
“We have to raise the bar on that,” he said.
Asked at one point if students might be assigned to rotating groups in order to receive in-person instruction on different days throughout the school week – as has been one idea put forward by the Kentucky Department of Education – Clayton wasn’t optimistic about the viability of that option but acknowledged it is being discussed.
“We’ll certainly look at all the potential options that are available,” he said.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.