LEES CREEK — East Clinton principals agree that starting the school year in a split schedule for its in-person students made for a smoother transition when they began being in school together on Sept. 8.
For the first three weeks of the new academic year, these students received both in-person and online instruction and were split up into two groups, which halved the number of students in buildings. After Labor Day, these students have attended school in person each weekday except Wednesdays, which will remain a remote learning day through Oct. 9.
New Vienna Elementary School Principal Jason Jones told the school board Tuesday this phase-in schedule was “a life-saver.” Phasing in the two smaller groups of students helped in teaching them a new routine involving new public health precautions.
There was not a single instance of a student not wanting to social distance or wear a mask at his school, said Jones a week after the district moved from a “yellow” split schedule to a “green” schedule where all students who are not taking the 100-percent online education option are back in school at the same time.
There had been some trepidation about how some things would go when the student body doubled, but after a day or so it was clear there were no issues, the elementary principal added.
He attributed this, in part anyway, to “incredibly supportive and flexible” parents.
“These [type of] situations tend to bring out the best in a lot of people,” said Jones.
East Clinton High School Principal Michael Adams concurred that having the two-group schedule at the beginning helped out for going over the new policies and procedures.
Because the building wasn’t overly crowded, the students could see the markings on the floor and staying to the right was easier, and furthermore they could see the difference in cafeteria practices.
And Sabina Elementary Principal Matt Willian reported there have not been any major issues so far that have required adjustments in the move from yellow to green.
“The split start that yellow provided was successful in the fact that it allowed us time to instill proper protocols in our students’ daily routines, and once we went green, those routines were already well established and practiced,” stated Willian.
On another matter, he said they have completed the initial diagnostic tests to gauge where each of their students are academically.
In an update about students who signed up for the first-semester Virtual Education option, Willian said his building has made a few adjustments based on the feedback received from parents on the amount of work provided, as well as the pace of the work.
East Clinton Middle School Principal Robbin Luck reported there are 63 middle school students currently enrolled in the 100 percent online learning option.
“We have returned 12 students to in-person learning for reasons such as mental health, technology, and individualized educational plans,” stated Luck.
East Clinton Local Schools Superintendent Eric Magee said Tuesday evening that the district has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at this point.
The superintendent announced the district was awarded a $16,596 broadband connectivity grant through the state of Ohio. The funds will go to cover the cost of about 150 hot spots for students through December.
In addition, the Board of Clinton County Commissioners has offered the school district $40,000 toward technology for distance learning, such as tablets, laptops, software, hot spots, or related needs.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.