Warden schools requesting small groups be allowed on campus

Staff Writer | September 13, 2020 1:00 AM

WARDEN — While Warden schools are conducting online classes to start the school year, district officials have submitted a plan to Grant County Health District to allow on-campus instruction for small groups.

Superintendent Dave LaBounty estimated that about 120 children eventually would be on campus at least part of the time for in-person instruction. That includes children who can’t use electronic devices, LaBounty said, as well as kids with any kind of barrier to using the technology. He cited preschool children, who in some cases have never seen an electronic device.

Health district officials reviewed the school district’s plan and asked for more information, which the district provided, LaBounty said. When they’re allowed, the small groups would be a maximum of five children per group.

Warden started school online in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. School closed due to the outbreak in March and stayed closed the rest of the school year. Not all students had access to computers during the spring. District officials ordered additional computers during the summer to ensure all kids had one.

Some hadn’t arrived by the time school started, however, so district officials repurposed some computers that had been destined for surplus. All Warden students have access to a computer, but district officials plan to replace the refurbished devices with new ones when they arrive, LaBounty said.

Connecting all those computers to the school is still a challenge, however.

“It’s a network shortage,” he said.

District officials are trying to find and address the gaps.

“We’re learning as we go. Constantly adapting,” he said.

Parents, teachers and staff have been supportive and are working to adapt to the circumstances, he said.