Being a Superintendent of any school district can be a difficult job, but with the unprecedented closure of schools due to coronavirus, these times have been a whirlwind for school leaders.
Valley Local Schools Superintendent, Scott Rolfe, has been working the first week of closing on food preparations and deliveries and now is gearing his focus on academics now and in the upcoming weeks.
“We have Monday and Thursday set up as our delivery days, we sent out a survey and made phone contact with parents.,” Rolfe said. “We have four locations, they can pick up food starting with Valley Middle School, food and drinks will be sent on a bus to Center Street Church, and we will load up another bus and take it to Glendale Community Center, and one to Victory Chapel on Back Run/Fallen Timber.”
The time students can pick up their lunches will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
“We have teachers coming into help, we have two shifts, one group will come to help prepare and load the bags up and we have bus drivers, teachers, administrators including myself, on the bus delivering,” Rolfe said. “We have some other community members and churches that have contacted us and tomorrow (3/19) will be our first day. We want to see how that goes and then try to incorporate other community help other than just teaching staff next week.”
After Governor Mike DeWine closed the schools Sunday and changed the requirements of students reporting Monday, students and staff were not able to come on Monday as planned.
“We had set up Monday afternoon and Monday evening, students were able to come into the building and get any textbooks, if they needed the hard copy as far as assignments,” Rolfe said. “The majority of our students in our upper grades will be doing mostly online, but at this time, I do feel all of our students have some learning opportunities to be working on and then we’ll have to build on those, depending on the time frame.”
Rolfe shared Preschool through grade two was given all hard copies for students to work from home. Grades three through 12, had the option of if they wanted to pick up hard copies or if they wanted to do online.
“As far as getting their assignments, teachers will be emailing different things out and students can email teachers back and however they need to work out what those assignments are, or if they have questions, our teachers are available every day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.”
Rolfe stated some of the teachers did start Thursday and Friday with books and hard copies and then Monday, opened the building from 1-3 and 5-7 for people to come in if they needed to get things out of their lockers or get textbooks.
“We were expecting to be in school Monday, but then we weren’t, that’s why we had those days open up to where they could come in and get them,” Rolfe said.
Students and teachers alike have had to make changes and accept them in a short amount of time and Rolfe hopes parents and students understand.
“I think there’s a misconception that our students are happy that this is taking place,” Rolfe said. “We have some that are upset and bummed out, especially upper-level kids. They’re missing out on possibly three months of their high school career. Everybody is not celebrating at sitting at home. We definitely have some students that are upset that they are not in attendance.”
Rolfe added, “It will be something that for the first few days, its relaxing, but then…I do believe boredom will set in and I do believe wanting that contact that nurturing factor that you get every day, when you see someone person to person that they can’t do now, I do believe that that’s gonna take place. All we can do is to continue to help. Our teachers are expected to be available to the school system and students during those mentioned times.”
With the uncertainty of when schools will be back in session with face to face classes, Rolfe holds out hope they will return this year.
“If we don’t have a full building closure, they still haven’t gone to that part. I plan to split staff and give them the opportunity if it would be more beneficial for them to come in here and work,” Rolfe said. “I would have half the staff, like grades,1,3,5,7,,, Monday, Wednesday and the even numbers on Tuesday and Thursday. That schedule has not made it out to them yet. I’m still waiting to see if Friday’s news conference does not shut them down.”
Rolfe also spoke of why coming in on last Monday would have been good.
“We could give the kids one more hot meal, give them one more day of you’re in a safe environment, give them one more day of love and nurturing and we care about you before who knows when we’ll see you again,” Rolfe said. “So, we didn’t get to say that goodbye to them. We’ve been making phone contact and had some counselors go out today and drove around the district just to talk to people and then when we deliver our food. At this point, we expect close to 200 people to show up at these four stops.”
Rolfe concluded with something he felt they were all thinking and feeling.
“Most of us in the county are trying to be on the same page,” Rolfe said. “Whatever it takes to make life better for our students at this time. When we can’t do it face to face, there are some other ways we can help do that, that’s why we’re in this business, for them to have the most comfortable environment/atmosphere learning situation that we can create.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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