The Benton-Carroll-Salem School District in Oak Harbor has tentatively set Wednesday, Aug. 26 as opening day of the 2020-2021 school year, said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Guy Parmigian, with a report of guidelines coming on Friday, Aug. 7.
“I have had many questions about lunch, recess, lockers, music, and physical education,” said Parmigian. “All of these issues and more will be discussed in detail on Aug. 7. I can tell you that we will be following the guidance of health professionals on all these issues. We are really looking at every moment of the student’s day — from bus pick up to hallways to lockers to the bus trip home — to mitigate risk.”
One change that students and parents will likely see when the school year begins is a rule requiring face coverings for students in grades 3-12, with an exception for certain health conditions. When physical distancing is impossible, such as in hallways and entering or exiting buildings, face coverings will be required, a recommendation of the Ottawa County Health Department (OCHD).
The school district will provide a clear plastic face shield for all students, and will also have disposable cloth masks available. Students will also be able to wear their own school-appropriate face covering from home.
On advice of the OCHD, the B-C-S School District will allow students to remove their face covering while seated at desks or tables and situated behind tri-fold shields or table dividers. The shields and dividers are plastic and can be easily disinfected.
Face coverings for all B-C-S staff will also be required. Face coverings will also be required on school buses for students in grades 3-12.
Supt. Parmigian said The Rocket Online Learning Option will use Schools PLP as the online curriculum for students in grades K-12.
There will be assistance for B-C-S students from B-C-S staff for students involved with the Rocket Online Learning Option if the student has a question or struggles. However, the help will not be provided “live,” and will have to be requested via email or phone call.
“Students who do the Rocket Online Learning Option will certainly not be abandoned by B-C-S because they will remain our students.” said Supt. Parmigian. “We are invested in the success of all of our students. If students are struggling they will not be left to fend for themselves.”
Participation and school work expectations and grades will be issued to students in the Rocket Online Learning Option. Students will be able to participate in athletics and extra-curricular activities if they participate in the Rocket Online Learning Option.
Those parents who indicated an interest in the Rocket Online Learning Option will receive a detailed communication about the program next week. They will be asked to make a commitment to it for at least one full 9-week period by Aug. 14.
Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools has partnered with Final Forms, an online forms and data-management service. Final Forms will allow you to easily complete and sign enrollment, contract, and athletic participation forms for students. Final Forms saves data from year to year so students will not need to enter the same information twice. You will be able to view your data at any time to make sure it is current.
For those who do not wish to use Final Forms to pay student or athletic fees, there will be a district-wide fee collection for all K-12 families at Oak Harbor High School on Aug. 18 and Aug. 20 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Masks and physical distancing will be required to enter the building.
Students and parents will receive information about bus numbers and approximate pick up times during the week of Aug. 10.
When school opens on Aug. 26, Supt. Parmigian plans to open under plan A, which has all students attending every day. Everyone has to prepare to be flexible and evolve, as conditions with the pandemic evolve.
“This is an anxious and uncertain time, so make sure you all are taking care of yourselves. If there is something we can do to help, please call the school,” said Supt. Parmigian. “Also be aware of the Crisis Text Line. You can text HOME to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor at any time.”