June 29 BOE Work Session

2020-2021 School Year Plans Announced
Posted on 06/30/2020
This is the image for the news article titled 2020-2021 School Year Plans Announced

School building at top with three students and a globe with an arrowAt the June 29 Lakota Board of Education work session, Superintendent Matthew Miller presented four different plans for the 2020-2021 school year, including a virtual option that will be available to families who do not wish for their children to attend school in person.


“We want our students back in school,” said Miller.


District leaders have been working since April to plan for the new school year. The “A-B-C” approach takes three different scenarios into consideration, with the Lakota Virtual Learning Option available throughout the year. “At this time, we are planning to implement Plan A in August,” said Miller. He cautioned that information changes rapidly and the district is still awaiting guidance from the state. 


Within Plan A, all students will return to school with added safety precautions at all levels. Physical distancing guidelines of six feet will be followed whenever possible, with three feet between desks in classrooms. To limit the number of students in each classroom, grades 7-12 will follow a block schedule every day. All cafeterias will operate at 50-percent capacity.


In Plan B, the balanced approach brings students to school with restrictions. Students in grades K-6 will attend school every day with six feet of physical distancing between desks. In order to achieve this, all learning spaces will be used as classrooms. “With six feet between desks, we can have between 15 and 18 students in each classroom,” said Miller. “Innovation Hubs, gyms and other learning spaces will be used as classrooms.” Students will remain in their classrooms with teachers rotating as needed. 


At the junior and high school buildings, students will attend every other day and follow daily block schedules in Plan B. This will allow for six feet of physical distancing to be followed in the classroom as well as limit the number of transitions. When secondary students are not in school, they will complete online assignments. Students will be split alphabetically to determine which day they attend school. All students in K-6 will eat lunch in their classrooms.


Preschool students will attend school four days a week in both Plan A and Plan B. State guidelines have already reduced the size of the classes from 16 to nine.


In both of these plans, additional safety precautions will be put in place to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health Department. Hand sanitizer stations will be at every entrance as well as in classrooms. Additionally, each classroom will be equipped with cleaning supplies to sanitize work areas throughout the day. 


When students or staff are less than six feet apart from one another, they will be required to wear a mask or face covering. “We have spoken to health officials at Butler County, as well as an infectious disease expert from UC West Chester,” said Miller. “Based on their recommendations, we will require face masks to be worn when students and staff are less than six feet apart.” If students are six feet apart, they will not need to wear a mask. Additionally, mask breaks will be given during the day.


The district plans to continue busing with both Plan A and Plan B. Current guidelines allow for two students per seat, which will require masks to be worn. If Plan B must be implemented, the district will follow guidelines from local and state officials.


Plan C, Connected, is a remote learning education that would be carried out if schools were closed as they were in the spring. “Our teachers and curriculum department have been working on building out remote learning to be a much more robust experience than we saw during the fourth quarter,” said Miller.


“If we have to shift from one plan to another,” said Miller, “we will give our teachers and parents a few days to plan.” This mirrors the spring launch of remote learning following the district’s spring break when teachers used the first two days for professional development and planning with students returning on the third day. 


Lakota’s curriculum department is working with a team of teachers to develop the Lakota Virtual Learning Option. The new 100-percent online curriculum for students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be available independently of all plans. Students who have health concerns and are at a higher risk of contracting the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be given priority placement. Students enrolled in this option will have a dedicated Lakota teacher to check in with and ask questions. Families will be asked to commit to a full semester of virtual learning. Three information sessions will be held in July for families who are interested in exploring this option.


Families are encouraged to visit www.lakotaonline.com/weareprepared to stay up to date on the latest information about the 2020-2021 school year.