Since Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement Thursday that schools throughout the state would be closing for three weeks, officials from Delaware City Schools have been working to make sure education can continue while the school buildings are closed.
Superintendent Heidi Kegley said Friday morning the district’s scheduled Spring Break will still be held from March 30 to April 3, and students already didn’t have class on Monday so teachers could have a professional development day.
Kegley added district leadership is putting together a presentation to provide to staff throughout the district via video-conferencing Monday for their professional development, and the district will be training staff Tuesday and Wednesday on how to do at-home learning.
“On Thursday, we will start at-home learning for Thursday and Friday and the following week,” Kegley said. “It will look different, but we are sending devices home to our students. Our hope is that we’ll be able to continue using Canvas, (the district’s learning management system that) we’ve been using for the past few years, to ensure our students are hearing from and seeing their teachers each day.”
Kegley said the lessons will be tailored to students’ needs and goals, the district wants parents to know they are still available to help.
“They are personalized for them,” Kegley said “We want to make sure our students still feel connected to their teachers, and for our families to know they can still reach out to teachers if they have questions or need additional supports. This is really ensuring that we have clear opportunities for continued communication, collaboration and support with our families and staff.”
Director of Communications Jennifer Ruhe said a big benefit of using Canvas and other software already used in classrooms is that students are already familiar with it.
“There will also be non-online learning,” Ruhe said. “We don’t want our kids sitting on devices all day, every day. We will be working with our related arts teachers to give other types of assignments like art, physical education and music. We want to keep this a well-rounded experience for our students.”
Ruhe added the at-home education days will still count toward the district’s required educational hours, and the mild winter means the district still has a number of calamity days.
“Our district is still in really good shape, even without relief,” Ruhe said.
Kegley and Ruhe said that for now, athletic events and performances in the district have been postponed. Ruhe said the district will make determinations about when and if to reschedule events after the break.
“We’re waiting for some guidance to see what this will look like,” Ruhe said. “We won’t make a lot of those decisions until after that spring break time period. We’ll communicate as we can with each of these items, because we know they’re important to families and students. They’ve put a lot of hard work into performances and competitions they were getting ready for. We get that they’re disappointed.”
Kegley said the district has set up a webpage that can direct families to school resources and information regarding the district and the Coronavirus. The site can be found at https://www.dcs.k12.oh.us/domain/902.
She added the district is “still working” on a plan for getting food to students and wants to make sure it’s still providing those resources to district families.
Kegley said she was proud to see how many staff and community members saw the closing announcement and volunteered to help.
“The true Pacer family spirit was demonstrated when the news was shared,” she said. “That was from our families and staff immediately asking, “What can we do? How can we prepare?,” and that speaks volumes to our amazing community inside the schools and outside of our schools.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.