Wilmington City Schools seeking best, safest option for reopening


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



Wilmington City Schools Board of Education Vice President Marty Beaugard Sr. is concerned about the children of families who don’t have computers or do have connectivity issues with digital devices.

Wilmington City Schools Board of Education Vice President Marty Beaugard Sr. is concerned about the children of families who don’t have computers or do have connectivity issues with digital devices.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — Every classroom in the Wilmington school district will have a touchless hand sanitizer station as part of COVID-19 prevention efforts for the upcoming academic year.

In addition, every employee will be provided with a face shield, which Wilmington City Schools (WCS) Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart thinks will be especially helpful when teachers work in close proximity to students who then will be able to see facial expressions including smiles — unlike face masks.

Disposable face masks will be available when needed, for example for visitors.

Thanks to a purchase made prior to the pandemic shutdown, all WCS school buildings and the bus transportation department have their own ionized sprayers.

Several replacement hand dryers are being installed for those that have aged out, and there are 70-some head thermometers throughout the district.

At Monday’s school board meeting, McCarty-Stewart reported on results from a parent survey conducted in the late spring. At that time, parents — at least the 275 survey respondents — were at varying levels of comfort or discomfort with the thought of sending their child back to school buildings this fall. About 41 percent were comfortable, 30 percent were not comfortable, and about 28 percent were in the middle somewhere.

In terms of open-ended survey questions, many parents said they do not like the idea of requiring their child to wear a mask at school. And a common concern is childcare when students are not in school.

The superintendent noted that if all students attend school simultaneously, space does not allow for six-feet social distancing but rather would narrow distancing to three feet. However, allowing all students to attend school simultaneously is a realistic option if Clinton County has few active cases of COVID-19 and safety measures are maintained.

Called the green zone, this format focuses on congregate student groupings, fewer student transitions, and sanitizing.

WCS will provide a virtual education option for parents to register K through 12 students who have specific needs and are unable to attend school in the green zone or in a hybrid format that combines remote and at-school learning.

Another parent survey will be sent out this week, and parents can be part of virtual meetings with the superintendent planned for July 6 through 8.

The academic year may start a few days later this August, and even if the decision is to go with the green zone, there may be a staggered start so that students and staff can start off slowly, helping them get into a new routine.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Wilmington City Schools Board of Education Vice President Marty Beaugard Sr. is concerned about the children of families who don’t have computers or do have connectivity issues with digital devices.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/06/web1_marty.jpgWilmington City Schools Board of Education Vice President Marty Beaugard Sr. is concerned about the children of families who don’t have computers or do have connectivity issues with digital devices. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com