EVSC, parents plan for students to return in the fall safely

Updated: Jul. 7, 2020 at 9:52 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - EVSC parents are continuing to consider if they plan to send their children back into school buildings next month. The district released new details Monday evening.

EVSC leaders say a questionnaire is expected to go out to parents Wednesday. They’re wanting to get a feel for what parents are planning.

One man 14 News spoke with says his sons will be going back to school.

“I mean, what are you supposed to do? Me and my wife - we work,” said Shadrach Jackson. “We’re not struggling, but things are things. I mean, they have to go to school.”

With only weeks to go before the start of the new school year.

“We will have the desks positioned where they are six feet apart and all facing the same directions,” said Dr. David Smith. “You know, our traditional classrooms were very reliant upon group work. Well, that group work will look different now because we will not cluster desks together.”

It’s not only parents- but school administration leaders who continue planning for the students’ safe return.

“Just social space. Don’t be up in people’s faces,” said Jackson. “We do that automatically. Wash your hands. Try not to be touching on everybody. Coughing, sneezing, just use your traditional manners that you would normally use.”

With the pandemic continuing to have a presence in Vanderburgh County, Superintendent Dr. David Smith says they will continue following the guidance of the health department.

“For instance, if a parent would test positive for COVID-19, then we would expect all children in that household that attend EVSC schools to self-quarantine for two weeks,” said Dr. Smith.

The first day of school is set for Wednesday, August 5. The school board has three more meetings between now and then.

14 News spoke more in-depth with Dr. Smith - on what parents and students can expect moving forward with either decision.

”Certainly we’ll follow the guidelines for appropriate social distancing,” said Dr. Smith. “That’s fairly easy to do in our classrooms and in our school buildings, a little more difficult on our busses – so because of that we will require students to wear a mask when they’re on the bus.”

For those leaning more towards the Online Virtual Academy. -

“If a parent chooses Virtual learning or Virtual Academy, they basically will be making themselves available for the curriculum, for the content and for our teachers,” said Dr. Smith. “No meals, no extracurriculars or anything like that.”

But for those families currently without internet access, that doesn’t mean learning virtually is out of the question.

“We will have the capability to provide all of the students with a device and if they don’t have internet connectivity, we will have a hotspot for them,” said Dr. Smith.

As cases are on the rise, Dr. Smith says if EVSC would have to close down schools again, they are much more prepared this time around.

“What we experienced in the last quarter of last year was really done on an emergency basis, we’ve now had 5 months to plan if that situation should happen again,” said Dr. Smith. “I would think that every school district would be much better prepared now – we certainly are. We would have devices for every student, they would have internet accessibility for every student, our teachers have undergone professional development in terms on how to deliver that content on the remote platform so we would be much, much better prepared.”

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