Hillsboro Board Hears Plans For Each School

by Mike Plunkett

Administrators in the Hillsboro School District described how the reopening plan will be implemented in their schools during a special school board meeting set specifically for that discussion on Tuesday, Aug. 4, in the junior high cafeteria.

During a special meeting two weeks before, the board voted to implement an opening plan that allows students’ families to choose between at-home remote learning or returning to the classroom with strict guidelines including daily temperature checks, required masks, special breakfast and lunch arrangements, social distancing, and an earlier dismissal.

District curriculum director Hope McBrain began the discussion with a review of the remote learning plan, which begins on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

“We are going to require daily attendance and we are going to earn grades,” McBrain said.  “The school calendar will be the same as in the classroom.”

Every student, kindergarten through senior, will be provided access to a Chromebook.  The district will assist families with limited or no internet access.  Students in grades K-5 will use Google Classroom or other internet based programs; students in grades 6-12 will access lessons via Schoology.  There will be no paper packets.

Remote learning will includ both on-demand lessons posted each morning, as well as live lessons delivered on Nearpod, Zoom or Google Meet.  Teachers will be available from 1:45 to 3:30 p.m. for K-5 remote students; until 3:45 for those in grades 6-12.

Breakfast and lunch will not be provided for remote learners.

Patti Heyen, high school principal, said classroom education will emphasize integrating technology for instruction and work submission, “so if we do have to go all remote, the transition will be smooth.”

Teachers will watch for students who have lost skills after the long lay-off and recommend tutoring assistance for those who need it.

Physical education will not use lockers or require a clothing change.

Travel routes will be designated through hallways and between classes.

Students should not arrive before 7:45 a.m. and those who drive or are dropped off should immediately report to the screening tent.  Zero hour students should arrive no earlier than 7:15 and report directly to the back door of the gym where they will be temperature screened.  Students should exit promptly at the end of the day, 1:09 p.m.  Bus riders would go straight to the cafeteria; other students will need to order their lunch online and pick it up at the cafeteria at the end of the day.

Periods in between classes will be four minutes, lunch will be offered at the end of the day, and flex time has been eliminated. Freshman orientation will be provided via video presentations.

At the junior high, bus riders will be dropped off on Summer Street at the north end of the school.  For other students, sixth graders will be screened on the east side of the building, seventh graders on the west, and eighth graders on the south, according to Principal Don VanGiesen.

The principal said the goals of his reopening committee was to make the school day “as normal as possible.”

Breakfast will be served in three different locations for students to pick up and take to their first “Pride” classroom; lunch will be served in the cafeteria in three different modules, only three students per table.

For recess, students will be allowed to remove masks when outdoors while maintaining social distancing.  Playground equipment will not be allowed.

Bus dismissal will begin at 1:45 p.m. in two different groups. The remaining students will also be dismissed by groups: sixth grade out the main doors, seventh grade out the old gym doors, and eighth grade out the south doors.

At Beckemeyer School, Principal Zach Frailey said the first day will be a 9 a.m. start just for kindergarten students.

“Walking your kid to kindergarten the first day is still kind of a right of passage,” Frailey said.

Bus students will arrive for screening at the gym, others in the front Seymour Avenue circle no earlier than 7:45 a.m.

Breakfast will be served in three locations in the building by grade level.  For lunch, half of each class will eat in the cafeteria, and the other half will eat lunch in the classroom, rotating halves every other day.

Students will be allowed to remove masks when outdoors at recess while maintaining social distancing.  The playground will be divided into three sections with classes assigned to each section on a rotation.  Students at recess will be supervised by teachers and aides.

Art, music and library will be taught in each child’s classroom; PE classes will be held outside when possible

Special ed and Title services will still be available, but in settings where students can be more spread out.

Bus students will be dismissed at 1:25 p.m. and the rest at 1:35 p.m.  Parents picking up a child should use the front circle by forming a single file car line. After School Kids (ASK) will still be offered, but this year at $50 a week.  Students will be screened daily and assigned to smaller groups of ten.

Marci Gutierrez, principal at Coffeen Early Childhood Center, said students should be dropped of no earlier than 7:45 a.m. for the morning class and 11:15 a.m. for the afternoon class.  The a.m. class is from 8:20 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and the p.m. class is from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.  Full day class times will be from 8:20 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.  Drop-off students will be screened at the main front doors.

Lunch will be provided for full-day students only; snacks will be provided with social distancing within the classroom.

Students will be allowed to remove masks during outdoor recess while maintaining social distancing.  Playground equipment will be sanitized between each use.

For dismissal, parents should stay in their vehicles until students are delivered to them in the circle drive.

Both Gutierrez and Frailey emphasized that staff will help students properly wear masks.

District maintenance supervisor Fred Butler described air sanitizers that will be used in every classroom to kill 96 percent of viruses in the air; janitors will be in charge of cleaning and sanitizing restrooms. Transportation director Adam Gregg said busses will be sanitized similarly.  Students will sit in assigned seats during daily transportation to and from school.

Dr. Ben Cady reminded staff to maintain safe protocols at the end of the day after students are off campus.

Superintendent David Powell congratulated district administrators and directors who have put in a lot of time during “a difficult summer.  We have a great team here who have kept the students at the front of their minds.”

Before adjourning, the board members met in closed session to discuss pending litigation and review candidates to fill the vacancy on the board left by the resignation of former president Greg Bellaver.

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