The Bright Local School District will offer K-12 students an online option, Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High School Principal Jason Iles and Bright Elementary School Principal Ty Stephens said during the district’s Wednesday board of education meeting.
Students in grades 7-12 will have the opportunity to enroll in the digital curriculum Apex Learning, Iles said, and the district will make sure all students in grades 7-12 are equipped to transition to the remote learning platform in the event that the school must shut down again.
Apex also offers students AP, honors classes and ACT preparatory opportunities, Iles said, and the curriculum offers support for students with IEP or 504 accommedations. The curriculum is based on Ohio content learning standards.
Students who decide to enroll in Apex will later be able to return to classes on campus, which Iles said should be a relatively smooth transition as remote students will learn using the same materials as on-campus students.
At this time, 42, or 13 percent, of Bright Local students in grades 7-12 are currently enrolled in Apex.
Students in grades K-6 will also have the opportunity to enroll in digital curriculum SchoolsPLP, which Stephens said will be more beneficial for elementary students than previous remote learning platforms.
Stephens said he and other Bright Elementary administrators hope to send as few packets home to students as possible in the event that the school closes once again.
At this time, there are no online curricula for preschool students.
Stephens added that he will strongly recommend that teachers occasionally conduct class in outside spaces in fair weather in order to decrease risk of exposure to COVID-19 and give elementary students a break from their face coverings.
Students learning remotely through both Apex and SchoolsPLP will begin classwork on Aug. 31. Iles and Stephens both plan to offer training or orientation sessions for remote students and their parents.
Bright Local Superintendent Mike Bick said the district is working to get grants to help provide students who may not have access to the internet with AT&T hotspots, so they may complete their work remotely.
When on-campus classes resume on Aug. 19, all Bright Local students will undergo health assessments during their first class period of the school day. The district will require masks while students are in school buildings or on buses.
The doors to the junior high and high school open at 7 a.m., and staff members will be on-hand to supervise students.
Iles said the junior high and high school have quarantine stations prepared in the event that a student has a temperature higher than 100 degrees. If parents are unable to pick up students with temperatures higher than 100 degrees, Iles said the district will provide transportation for quarantined students.
Iles said administrators have added a third lunch period to maintain social distancing guidelines. Upperclass and eighth-grade students will have the opportunity to eat outside, depending on the weather.
Restrooms will be closed during class changes, but students will be able to sign out during class, which will better allow for contact tracing.
The district requests that all students bring a water bottle to school. Water fountains have been converted into touchless water bottle fill stations.
In other news from the board meeting:
* During the public participation portion of the board meeting, parent Laura Martin addressed the board to commend them for their work in finding a viable virtual option for families who may not be comfortable with their children attending school in person at this point in time. Martin said she and other parents support a remote learning option as it will allow the district to decrease the number of students on campus at one time, thus decreasing rates of exposure and allowing those students who need or want to attend school in person to do so potentially longer than they may have been able to otherwise.
* The board approved Bick’s recommendation to waive a $50 technology fee and the cost of breakfast for all Bright Local students during the 2020-21 school year.
Students may be held responsible for any damage to the Chromebooks and iPads the district issues them. The district may require them to cover the cost of repairing or replacing damaged devices.
* Board member Steve Cox reported that the Southern Hills Career and Technical Center will offer two options when classes resume: a 100-percent in-person option or a hybrid learning option, which would allow students to complete a majority of their work remotely, though they must attend labs in person.
* The district has served 56,690 summer meals as of Aug. 11, according to cafeteria supervisor Debbie Robertson.
Robertson said the district hopes to continue working with No Kids Hungry to provide students and their families with 10 shelf-stable meals per child per week.
Bick commended Robertson for her efforts in planning and distributing meals to local families after the district shutdown in mid-March as part of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s order. Bick said the district was able to begin distributing meals to around 200 to 250 children and their families only a week after closing.
* The Hillsboro Lowe’s donated 1,475 masks for Bright Local students and staff.
The district is seeking donations of water bottles, masks, face shields, and thermometers for students who may not otherwise have access to them.
* The district has hired a substitute nurse, Rachel Flader, who will provide support for the district’s current nurse and assist with health assessments.
* Bick said the district will add another bus route, which will serve students near Carmel, in order to alleviate the number of kids on each bus at one time.
Staff members will sanitize buses before and after each group of riders.
* The district has canceled Bright Elementary and Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High open houses, but the preschool open house will be available by appointment only.
For more information, visit www.bright.k12.oh.us.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.