The Bright Local School District transitioned to remote learning on Tuesday due to an increase in quarantined staff and students, superintendent Mike Bick told The Times-Gazette.
As of press time, the district will reopen for in-person learning on Tuesday, Dec. 1 following Thanksgiving break, though Bick said the district will work with the Highland County Health Department to reassess whether to reopen at that time.
As of Nov. 13, the district had seven positive cases involving Bright Local students across the elementary, junior high and high school, according to the district’s COVID-19 report, available at blsd.us. In addition, 103 students and six staff members were in quarantine.
According to the district profile, also available at blsd.us, Bright Local has 710 students across the elementary, junior high, high school, and career and technical center.
“There were more staff members who were looking to be quarantined,” Bick said Tuesday. “We had one staff member who was pending results. Officially, we didn’t have those negative results back yet, so basically, I just decided to go ahead and, for the safety of the students and the precautionary measure, go virtual. Unfortunately, the staff member came back as positive last night, but I’d already made that call. We were erring on the side of caution to try to ensure the safety of our students.”
Bick added that additional staff members will be quarantined as a result of the new positive staff case.
A statement on the district’s website stated that school is still in session, and students should continue to complete their assignments.
Bick told The Times-Gazette that students will continue coursework through Google Classroom and other virtual platforms. According to Bick, students and staff spent Monday reviewing how to access and use these platforms.
“Our goal was to get to Thanksgiving, at least that was our first goal, and ultimately to keep going,” Bick said, “but we made preparations long ago to make sure the teachers were utilizing virtual platforms in the classroom, so students were more familiar and able to access Google Classroom. That’s been coming, and teachers have been doing a great job of making sure their kids are prepared for remote learning.”
During previous school board meetings, district principles Ty Stephens and Jason Iles reported that students had received Chromebooks and iPads to continue coursework in the event that the district transitioned to blended or remote learning.
Those who do not have internet access at home can connect from the schools’ respective parking lots. Students can also download assignments to complete without an internet connection.
Families who were previously signed up to pick up meals will continue to have that option, but students who were previously attending classes in person do not have the option at this time.
“As far as the entire student body doing pick-ups, we just weren’t ready for that. We don’t have that announcement out for the people to come and get them,” Bick said. “If we have to go into December, we’ll readdress that too. We may get to the point where we’re providing meals for everyone [for pick-up].”
For more information and future updates, visit blsd.us.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.