GREENCASTLE — At this time, Greencastle-Antrim schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 13, but the district will provide various forms of education beginning Monday, April 6, based on what grades students are in.
The district unveiled its plan to continue education during the COVID-19 shutdown mandated by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in a letter to parents from Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent, on Wednesday.
"This is not a perfect system or plan as there will be bumps along the road, but we are making a good faith effort to help our students during this trying time. I encourage you to keep in communication with your child’s teacher(s) during this journey," Trail wrote.
She added the plan is designed "to continue education for our students even if decisions are made to continue school closures across the state, which could become a reality."
Trail's letter began, "First and foremost, I hope that you and your families are safe and healthy physically and emotionally during this pandemic. We are concerned about you as we travel down this ambiguous path."
It concluded, "Thank you for your understanding as we continue to work through this situation and provide the best education possible to our students."
The district has one approach for high school students and another for students in kindergarten through eighth grade developed by the administrative team during frequent meetings to discuss possible scenarios.
All high school students received an iPad at the beginning of the semester in January under the district's Equal Technology Opportunities initiative, so they will resume coursework for their regular classes.
The high school iPad rollout was the first wave of ETO and the only technology available to younger students is what is in their homes.
"Currently, GASD is not technologically equipped as a 1:1 district K-12. Our K-8 students do not have a technology device to take home; therefore, this creates some additional challenges for teachers and students regarding access," Trail wrote. "The district was on a journey of 1:1 specifically for students in grades 6-12; however, we have only completed the first phase of the vision. Students in grades 9-12 were issued an iPad in mid-January. This pandemic has forced us to look at online learning sooner rather than later."
All parents were called with a five-question survey to provide the district with information on their Internet access and devices. Among about 2,000 responses, 84 do not have access to Internet and 216 do not have access to a computer.
"This information will be used as we continue to plan for online learning as well as become more knowledgeable about those of you who may need different types of educational resources," Trail wrote.
The district is following up get more information on students who do not have access to Internet and/or a device.
"If this closure continues, we will need to look at ways to provide assistance such as looking at hotspots and computers or providing educational packets," according to Trail.
Teachers will begin training in online learning through the Lincoln Intermediate Unit on Monday, March 30, and may start electronically sending "review and enrichment activities" as soon as April 2.
On April 6:Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will receive expectations in math and language arts. Students in grades six to eight will receive expectations in math, language arts, science and social studies. Students who are enrolled in high school courses will begin online coursework in their scheduled classes. They are advised to set aside an hour a day per class. Coursework will be provided four days a week and students are expected to complete homework daily. Fridays will be used as a make-up day for any assignments missed during this week. Teachers may use tools such as discussion boards, PowerPoints and videos and will be available for assistance. There will probably not be live streaming since some families have to share devices.
Families also will received recommended activities, projects and resources from K-8 special subject teachers as well as the K-12 guidance department. They also can find education resources under the student tab on the district's website www.gcasd.org.
Frequently asked questions
Q - What about third marking period grades for K-8 students?
A - No decision has been made as we are waiting to see if schools will be closed further.
Q - Will my child’s teacher be teaching via livestreaming?
A - Students will be able to access educational resources 24/7.
Q - What about grades for assignments?
A - Students enrolled in high school courses will receive grades for the work they are completing during this time in an effort to ensure collection of high school credit. The work assigned to students in grades K-8 will be monitored with the expectation to keep students engaged in the learning process. At this time, grades will not be collected, but that will change if the closure is extended.
Q - Will breakfast and lunch continue to be provided during this extended closure?
A - Yes, breakfast and lunch are provided to children under the age of 18 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Antrim Township Building.
Contact Shawn Hardy at email@example.com