MINFORD — School Superintendents have always had to make some tough decisions, but this year has surely been the toughest when it comes to making decisions that will affect an entire community.
One local Superintendent, Jeremy Litteral for the Minford Local School District, made a big one last week for his staff and students by deciding to go back to virtual learning at least until after the new year.
“This was definitely a tough decision,” Litteral said. “This year has been all about balancing student, staff, and family safety with making sure we can provide the best quality education possible for our students. Unfortunately, our district has been hit hard the past few weeks with COVID cases and quarantines.”
Litteral shared due to family contacts and contacts with other students they interact with on a daily basis. The district began struggling to find substitute personnel for both teachers and other staff. Attendance was also dropping drastically due to quarantines, families choosing not to send their child to school to avoid exposure or before a special event or trip, and just normal illness that occurs this time of year that is not COVID related.
“The decision was made for a variety of reasons, but the main one is definitely to help keep our students, staff, family members, and community members as safe and least exposed as possible to COVID-19,” Litteral said. “The Board of Education and I communicate often on the number of cases in our district, our attendance rate, cases in our county, and new and changing guidance from local and state health agencies. The board definitely supported this decision, and we all agreed, as stated, that this needed to happen to keep our students and staff safe.”
Litteral continued to discuss things as they began in March of this year. “We have worked on improving our quality of remote learning since March of last year. Our teachers have worked tirelessly to set up virtual classrooms, virtual meetings, schedules for students to receive instruction remotely, and many other aspects to prepare for this transition. Our food service and transportation departments have prepared for the past couple of weeks to work out details to feed our students during this time. Our technology department has worked very hard to provide a device to any student who needed one. As a result, we are confident our remote learning will be much more successful than it was last spring, but we also completely understand that nothing can replace face-to-face instruction. As I said before, safety just had to take priority at this point.”
Litteral listed a few things that have to be taken into consideration. Those who have to make sure things go as smoothly as they can with the changes give a better idea of how many people are involved when schools have to go virtual or other such changes.
Litteral added, “Our hope is definitely to bring children back into our school buildings after the New Year. However, as we shared with our families, that decision will be made once we understand the number of cases, level of exposure, and all other factors later in December. I fully expect that if conditions permit, we will begin bringing kids back on the color level from our plan that matches the state’s alert system color for Scioto County. I plan to release that plan to our students and families no later than Dec. 31.”
“I could not be more proud of the work our students, staff, and families have done this year to help us stay in school. Unfortunately, this virus just continues to spread without containment, so this decision had to be made to help stop the spread as much as we can in our schools,” Litteral said. “Our plea to the community and local area is to please continue to follow all guidelines, wear your mask, practice social distancing, and all other preventive measures to help us get back to school as much as possible when we can safely do so.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights