Evart Schools prepare for face-to-face instruction
Nearly 100 students opted to learn remotely
EVART -- The Evart Public Schools Board of Education met this week to approve a COVID-19 preparedness response plan.
Returning to school Aug. 19, the plan allows for students to learn virtually as well as in person.
"The real thing of the plan is that we are going to have face-to-face instruction for all K-12 students," Superintendent Shirley Howard said. "And we are going to have a very good online option being done by our own teachers."
With about 80-90 Evart students opting to learn remotely, Howard said students will be able to watch lessons from their homes. For elementary-aged students, lessons likely will be recorded, but older students likely will have the option to watch lessons live.
Howard said this variation is intended to allow younger students the opportunity to watch lessons as many times as they need to, while also making it so families with students in different grades are not all on the internet at the same time.
While a majority of Evart students will be learning in person, Howard said she does have several concerns for those choosing to learn at home.
"Even when they're in school sometimes its a struggle," she said. "And on the other hand, I worry about kindergarten trying to teach letters and sounds and reading virtually."
However, with online classes being taught by Evart teachers who will be making regular contact with students, Howard said she hopes this will not be a major issue.
Concerns also were raised about students attending the Mecosta Osceola Career Center this year.
With all career center classes being taught in person, Evart students choosing to take classes at the career center will be around students from other area school districts.
Howard noted, however, that students choosing this option would be around the same cohort of students each day, regardless of that students' district.
She also said the school district likely would be offering three buses to transport students to and from the career center in order to separate those who are not in the same cohort as much as possible.
"The more we can provide for them the better," Howard said.
While some area school districts have opted to delay the start of school or begin with a hybrid model of learning, Howard said school staff felt it was important to start face-to-face and on time.
By beginning early on, she said she hopes students will have more time to adjust to the school district's new policies and virtual learning in case school should have to shut down later in the year.
"They will be ready -- as ready as you can be -- and at least they'll have met their teachers," Howard said.