By Jamie Wiggan
The Montour School District is offering flexibility to parents and students in response to COVID-19, with options in place for in-person, real-time virtual and self-paced cyberlearning.
The district requested all parents indicate their preference by Aug. 3 and held a series of virtual “town hall” meetings in the preceding week to give detail on the options. After this initial commitment, students will be able to switch between the three options at various periods throughout the term.
Superintendent Christopher Stone, who introduced the meetings, said the district had built its plans around parent feedback.
“We knew the Montour community was very adamant about students going back to school,” he said.
Surveys circulated June show 85% ofresponding parents favored some form of return to school option.
Those returning to the classroom will have to adjust to a series of new safety protocols for carrying out appropriate social distancing per state and federal guidelines.
Students must wear masks or face shields at any time when they cannot consistently maintain a six-foot distance from teachers and other students. They will be discouraged from typical forms of social congregation and will be encouraged to report any mild signs of sickness to the school nurse.
Administrators said they expect the students to adjust well to the changes.
“I know that our students will be on board,” said High School Principal Todd Price, “I know that our students will understand its importance.”
Parents uncomfortable with returning their students to the classroom have the option of enrolling in the district’s existing cyber school or plugging into real-time remote instruction from home.
Stone said the virtual learning option will closely resemble regular learning aside from physical separation.
“[There will be] live video streams coming from the classroom so students stay at home and still receive high-quality education,” he said.
Because all classes will now be live-streamed to facilitate the virtual option, any student who gets sick or needs to self-isolate will be able to temporarily switch over to the virtual track while at home.
A compilation of frequently asked questions relating to the school’s reopening is accessible via the district’s website.