Warden school officials discuss return to on-campus instruction

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | October 15, 2020 1:00 AM

By CHERYL SCHWEIZER

Staff Writer

WARDEN — Half-time, on-campus instruction is coming for all Warden School District students. Superintendent Dave LaBounty said the timeline hasn’t been established, but he expects hybrid classes — part-time instruction on campus — to start within what he characterized as a very short period of time.

LaBounty and other district officials answered questions from district patrons for about an hour during the Warden School Board meeting Oct. 8.

Like all school districts statewide, Warden closed in March in response to the coronavirus outbreak and stayed closed through the rest of the school year. District officials wrote a plan to reopen school with instruction on campus half-time but switched to all-online instruction when coronavirus cases started to climb in midsummer.

When in-person instruction is allowed, Warden will begin with kindergarten through fifth grade, LaBounty said. Students would be on campus two days per week and would have online instruction two days per week.

Parents will have the option of an all-online schedule. LaBounty said each family will be contacted to determine their preferences, even those who haven’t been able to access the district’s online classes.

Students in some high-need categories have been allowed to return to campus half-time. Those include some special education students and kids who need services that can’t be delivered online. The district’s director of teaching and learning, Jill Massa, said 69 students were on campus the week of Sept. 28.

Massa said some students who don’t have reliable internet connections also have been allowed back on campus. District officials are working on ways to get kids back on campus in situations where online learning isn’t working.

Grade checks showed that 297 Warden students are failing a class or classes, or registered an incomplete in a class, Massa said. Each student must be evaluated individually, she said, and a plan must be prepared for students before they will be allowed back on campus. If the online learning is determined to be causing a student’s problem, she said, district officials will work to get the student back on campus.

In answer to a question from board member Doug Skone, LaBounty said that parents who are concerned about their child’s progress with online learning should contact the teacher and principal as soon as possible. Massa said that while an individual plan is required before a student can return to school, kids can be accommodated quickly once the plan is in place.