The Delaware Area Career Center announced its plans for a blended reopening Friday.
The announcement was posted on the school’s website Friday morning along with a video address from Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman. According to the plan, the school has developed four methods of instruction that it can move between depending on the COVID-19 situation at that time.
“When we ended last school year, I was optimistic that we would be returning to school just like in the past, however it quickly became obvious to me that the beginning of this school year would be different than any of us had hoped,” Freeman said in the video address Friday morning.
She added the plans have been developed to keep students safe while continuing their education.
“We have two priorities — one, the safety and well being of students and staff; and (priority) two, your education,” Freeman said. “As a career center, we believe students will come to us because they want that hands-on experience. We have developed a plan that will allow hands-on while minimizing the number of people in the building. I know you’ll have questions, and we’ll have follow-up communications with more details.”
The first option is fully in-person education five days a week. Students would be required to follow safety precautions, including wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing.
The second option is a blended model where students would do certain types of instruction in-person and other types online. Students would be divided into two groups and alternate attending in-person and online. In-person instruction would require masks, social distancing and hand washing.
The third option laid out by the school is a model where academic courses like English or history would be taught remotely, and lab programs would be taught in person. The school said the labs would be on a rotation to lower populations and increase safety. In the blended options, students would be divided into a blue group and a green group.
The final option proposed by the school would see all classes and labs taught remotely five days a week.
Freeman said in the announcement that the third option will be what the school uses at the start of school, but she said that could change by the time school starts.
“If or when we need to transition to one of the other options, we will do our best to provide you with a reasonable notice, but one of the things we’ve all learned is to expect the unexpected, and there may be times we don’t have much time for a notice,” Freeman said.
She added if a partner district moves to all-online education, that does not mean the DACC will.
“Any changes to DACC options will be communicated through us,” Freeman said.
Freeman also added that parents will be expected to check their students for symptoms before sending them to school.
Unlike plans set by other schools in the county, the plans do not necessarily correlate to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. DACC Public Information Officer Alicia Mowry said that because the school serves students in several counties, it has to look at more than just what the level is in Delaware.
“We have to look at whether we can follow all of the safety guidelines and procedures given the current COVID status, and the guidance we receive from the local health department, state leadership, and our own internal data,” Mowry said.
Freeman said the daily school schedule will remain 7:50 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
August 24-28 will be an orientation week for new students and students in certain labs. Monday, Aug. 31, will begin the blue/green rotation and the school year.
Freeman said she knows students are excited to see each other after the abrupt end of last school year, but she asked that students remember the safety guidelines when school resumes.
“I know it’s been months since you’ve seen some of your friends. I know the inclination is going to be to run up, give them a hug, and let them know you’re glad to see them, and I get that and I understand that,” Freeman said. “However, I’m going to ask that you think about other fun ways to greet your friends, to let them know you’ve missed them, you’re glad to see them, while maintaining that six-foot social distancing.”
More information, including information about food services and transportation, can be found on the DACC’s website at delawareareacc.org.
“I ask that over this time you remain flexible, continue to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, and focus your energy on where you have an influence,” Freeman said at the end of the video address. “There are things we don’t like, things may not agree with, however spending energy on those will not change them. So what I would like to ask that you accept what we have to accept, and you use your energies on things that will make a difference — like how to learn, how to learn remotely, and how to get your assignments in. Focus on those areas.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.