TRSU sets midweek ‘remote learning day’ as it hones re-opening plan Supt. Fierman schedules public meeting for Wednesday

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

As it continues to field questions from parents and hone its plans for reopening, the Two Rivers Supervisory Union will hold a third in a series of public forums to discuss the imminent reopening of schools. The forum will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 5 via zoom. Here is the link to join the forum.

Superintendent Lauren Fierman takes questions from parents and school staff in a public forum last Wednesday.

In the forum held last Wednesday, Superintendent Lauren Fierman told the 94 parents, teachers and  administrators present that having reviewed the parent survey results and worked with the other districts that send students into the River Valley Technical Center, changes were made since the announcement the week before.  Those are:

  • In-person instruction at all five TRSU schools (Green Mountain High and Chester-Andover, Cavendish Town, Ludlow and Mt. Holly elementaries) will take place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with a remote learning day on Wednesdays. This will give children a mid-week break from the strict environment (with masks and social distancing) and help align the schools with the other River Valley feeder districts.
  • A big concern among districts is having enough teachers, and the aligned calendar will help those teachers continue working whose own children attend one district while they teach in another.
  • In an effort to cut stress and get students back into a routine, the schools will have early release during the first two weeks.
  • The SU will be sending out another survey. It will ask if, knowing more about what school’s going to look like, parents are going to send their children to school for in-person instruction.
  • The SU will offer a remote-learning option for parents who ask for it.
  • On the 7-12 level, GM will be using the Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative model. It’s a statewide service that will utilize some GM teachers  and includes online learning as well as project-based learning offline and individual/small group work online. This is a new program that requires signing up for a full-time slot for the first semester. The schools are expected to soon make the details available to parents.
  • TRSU will run an in-house “Virtual Academy” for K-6 students, which will be different for different grades.

“I know that isn’t the schedule that meets everybody’s needs,” Fierman told the meeting.  “If there were … we’d put it in place.”

Twenty five of the 93 participants in the Zoom forum

Admitting that some parents’ questions are still unanswered, Fierman said, …we want them (those answers) too, those concrete details: What is it going to look like?

“Given how often things are changing, I don’t have that for you. I will get it to you as soon as I can and as things change I will let you  know.

“I have to apologize in advance that for a great deal of your questions, the answer is ‘I don’t know that yet.’  We are working as fast as we can to bring students back for in-person instruction as much as we can, as safely as we can.”

Among the questions asked at the meeting that are still up in the air are:

  • What are the school nurses’ schedules, and can their hours be increased?
  • How will the schools handle the required temperature checks and screening questions when parents are dropping off their students?
  • What happens when someone in the school tests positive?
  • Will there be lunch delivery on the Wednesday remote day?
  • With the brisk home sales market from out of state, do the schools expect to see an increase in students?

Home-schooling options, benefits

Addressing the question of home schooling, Fierman made it clear that the schools will try to help parents who decide to pull their children out of the system, but if they are not enrolled in the schools many things that the schools have will not be available to them.

“If  you are not enrolling in the school, the technology and the apps and other things we do within the school are not going to be available.” Home-school students are not in the student count and the school does not receive state funding for them.

However, Fierman noted, if parents take the remote option, students remain enrolled in school, are officially counted and can do the level of homeschooling that they want in addition to their online work.

“We will support you to the best of our ability in the decision that you make that will be best for your family,” said Fierman.

Fierman also confirmed that the individual classes and other activities that have been available to home-school students in the past will continue to be available.

 

 

 

 

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