Local schools are preparing for an unusual ending to a unique school year, and nothing could have prepared the schools and Superintendents for what they have been faced with since March.
However, the Superintendents have been working diligently, sometimes night and day, to make sure their students are well taken care of as can best be done during this time.
One of those Superintendents is Todd Jenkins, Superintendent of Northwest Local Schools. Jenkins spoke on the things that are in line, in preparing for the end of the school year.
“We pretty much have our graduation worked out and taken care of with our plans, which have been approved by the Scioto County Health Commissioner,” Jenkins said. “Currently, we’re still in the process on the end of the year stuff, as far as collecting things back and getting the items back to them. We have pretty much got that narrowed out.”
Jenkins said that they do have a plan, but have not put all of it on paper yet. He said that they hope that by May 11 they will have that out for the community as for their end of the year procedures. He said that for their honor roll children, they want to try to do a drive-by.
“Our end of the year things, we are trying to keep it as normal as possible, what we typically do. The biggest thing is how we present to the children, how to get the information back to the children, without allowing them back in the buildings,” Jenkins said. “We’re are running the district as normal as we can with the guidelines and the paperwork. It’s just getting that finalized and be able to get that information back to the children.”
Jenkins spoke about the teachers and how they are doing.
“It’s a learning curve for them, just like everybody else in the county, we’ve got those who have internet access, they are utilizing that and we’ve passed out Chromebooks. In our area here, we’ve got certain areas here that they do not have internet access. We have to supply the work materials through the buses and our food deliveries on Mondays, and we pick up homework that we get from there, that’s the way we translate between student-teacher. I hope out of all of this that the state realizes the need for internet access and I’d like to see them kick some money in to do this so we can get it out to our families.”
Jenkins continued, “We make contact with every kid, regardless. We’ve got a list of those children that have access and those families who do not. We gather all that information that guides us on how we get the technology or work instruction to those children. Our staff has done a very good job with that. What we do is, we have a schedule for every staff member and we try to break that up through the course of the week, where they are not together. They have to wear masks and they have to have their temperatures taken before they enter the buildings and then they are just allowed certain hours. After that, our custodians will go back and spray everything down and clean the areas.”
Jenkins spoke on what they hope to do as far as getting all the things for the children at the end of the school year, “Our plan is to have a scheduled day where we’ll clean the lockers out and put them in bags. Then we will have a scheduled day where the children can pick them up, not to go to the school, but we’ll have that stuff ready and do an exchange of personal items and they will give us their books and what they have. And as far as staff, we’ll do the same with those folks they’ll have a scheduled day where they’ll come in and finish out their stuff and put away what stuff they need to put away and then we’ll start the process of getting the buildings ready and see what happens in the fall.”
Speaking about his administrative staff, he said he has an outstanding bunch and that they have been having Google meetings at least twice a week with all of them together to see what’s going on, he said they all also text more than anything, sometimes seven days a week. They even had a Google meeting Sunday.
Talking about the food deliveries and such, Jenkins said that they have been lucky because they have had churches and private donations coming in for them. “It’s been a blessing, and I will tell you another blessing has been the Steven A. Hunter program. Mark Hunter has been great in getting the children extra food, so that’s been greatly appreciated. Our bus drivers have been great, we’ve got four areas we have drop off, then we have several bus drivers and teaching staff that ride with them and go out and deliver.”
As for what things will look like in the fall, if the students are able to return Jenkins said,
“I think it will be different, not sure what that’s going to be yet, but in the best interest of children, they need to be in school. We’ve beefed up our Wi-Fi access so that folks can come and get access. It may be normal from this point on,” Jenkins said. “I think the biggest thing is that everybody has got to be patient, we’re all working together and we’re all in the same boat, it’s just that some of us have longer oars and some of us have shorter oars, but we are all going to try to paddle in the same direction. We don’t want to stress everybody out we know that families sometimes don’t understand the work and the children aren’t able, and sometimes just a phone call to say, ‘hey, how are you doing?’ is the best thing happening.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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