Othello parents, students to be surveyed about school opening options

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | June 9, 2020 5:44 PM

OTHELLO — Othello School District officials will send out a survey by the end of this week asking parents and students their opinion of various options for opening school for the 2020-21 school year.

Schools were closed for the past two months of the 2019-20 school year in an effort to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

District superintendent Chris Hurst said district officials did some planning in anticipation of guidelines from state officials, but the announcement of the guidelines has been delayed. In the meantime, Hurst presented three possible options to the Othello School Board at the regular meeting Monday.

The proposals, Hurst said, were tentative and depend in part on the status of the outbreak in Adams County at the time school starts in August.

The first option would be for children and teachers to go back to school, with some allowances made for practices to help stop the spread of infectious disease. At least at the start of the school year, meals could be served in the classrooms, depending on any limitations on crowd size. Events like assemblies and concerts would be limited in size.

The school day would be split in the second option, with half of the instruction in school and half of it online. Kindergarten through eighth-grade classes would be split into morning and afternoon sessions. Students at Othello High School and Desert Oasis High School would attend half their classes one day, the second half the next day. A maximum of half the students would be allowed on any school campus at any time. All classes would be online in the third option. Hurst said district officials are working on making online instruction as effective as possible.