As summer break approaches its end, the Christian County Public Schools’ plan for returning to school was addressed in a virtual town hall put on by the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell.
CCPS Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Elementary Services Laura Morris started off by saying that the public school system is excited to have students return in the coming weeks.
“First of all, I want to say Christian County looks forward to servicing our students this fall,” Morris said. “We have been working very diligently to get a plan ready to start our fall school year. Of course the health and safety of students and staff are the priority of our plan.”
Morris said a COVID-19 task force was created in the spring, made up of district administration, school administration, teachers, parents and a local physician while working closely with the Christian County Health Department in order to help ensure the safety when returning to school.
On July 16, the Christian County School Board voted on the reentry pathways for school starting in the fall. Given the pandemic, there are two options available.
“The first pathway is an in-person traditional pathway,” Morris said. “However, we are very well aware that all of our families might not be comfortable with traditional in-person instruction, so we also have a second pathway which is a virtual pathway.”
With the traditional in-person pathway, students would attend school physically beginning Aug. 27. Noting that they are aware that cases could rise in the future, there are two sub-options included in the traditional in-person pathway plan that they could act upon in the future.
“First of all, the second option — option B — is a hybrid model, where we would welcome a percentage of our students back on campus while our other students were receiving non-traditional instruction or instruction at home,” Morris said. “If the situation dictated, we could take all of our students to an NTI model, which is non-traditional instruction, and our students would be working from home for short periods of time.”
The NTI model is what was applied in the spring when the pandemic caused schools to close the 2019-20 school year.
Morris said they have worked to build on that model, stating that they would have access to teachers while they are on the model and there would be weekly grades taken by teachers like in a traditional setting.
In the traditional classroom setting, students will have to practice the 6-feet social distancing and be in masks, but if social distancing can be done they will be allowed to remove masks for short periods of time.
Morris said the custodial and maintenance departments have been going through extensive training for cleaning as well as teachers.
With younger children they are looking at materials that typically pass through the hands of children, looking to minimize them and practicing cleaning the classroom as the school days go on.
The other option for students would be the virtual pathway which is a complete online learning experience.
“Students would need to have a device such as a Chromebook, desktop or laptop and this would require reliable internet for our students,” Morris said. “They would still have access to a teacher on a daily basis, but it would be a computer generated curriculum that the students would be following and it would also align to our curriculum documents within the system.”
For transportation, kids must wear masks on the bus, and the buses will be sanitized as the day goes on.
Morris said they will also limit the number of visitors to the school and that they will reduce the number of events that would have students gathering in large numbers.
For more information parents, faculty and students can visit the Christian County Public Schools website at www.christian.kyschools.us/ and click on the “Returning to School” page that pops up initially on the website as well as the “Virtual Learning Academy” page.
Morris said these options are in place to help ensure safety in returning to school in the fall.
“As we all know, we are dealing with a pandemic that we have not seen the likes of in my educational career and we know that things could change, so there is a bit of flexibility that’s involved in returning to schools,” Morris said.
Fort Campbell officials also discussed the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System reopening plan.
The complete town hall livestream can be viewed on Facebook by searching “U.S. Army Fort Campbell.”