Bath Superintendent Gives Update on Virtual Learning
Because of the spread of Covid-19 in Bath County and our surrounding areas, Bath schools are going all virtual after Thanksgiving break on November 30th. I reached out to Superintendent Sue Hirsh for more information for a little more detail about how this will work.
“The decision to go to virtual learning for the period of time in November to mid-January, is following the contingency plan, in our plan to return to school this fall. During the fall, we have used blended learning using our canvas platform from the first day of school in order for our students and staff to become comfortable with using it should the need to go to remote learning occur. Community circumstances have been increasingly a concern with our today’s total of, I think, 46 cases reported. It’s been steadily going up- slowly but steadily, and executive orders that have come about and could still occur. We felt that the need to transition to a different delivery model, our motor virtual model, was important for the safety of our students. We know that we have two holiday periods next week for Fall Break and Thanksgiving. And also, then our Christmas and New Year’s break, both of which are times when a number of different occurrences, family get-togethers and travel might occur where it is predicted that indoor activities and large gatherings could contribute to the spread. We felt that by having this shift in modality until mid-January, would allow us to get past that, and we hope to return to the model that we began at the beginning of the year, approximately the week of the 18th of January. Our staff is not quarantined. We have some individuals through situations- not necessarily related to school, have self quarantined. Our staff will need to continue to teach and everyone will be working basically their same schedule.”
When asked about the students access to devices and internet, she said
“All of our students in grades three through seven will be using devices at home as they have been during the earlier part of the year. During this period of time November to mid-January, we’re going to be using paper packets with our preschool to grade two students. Primarily because of the appropriateness of online for some of those students. Our students have been issued devices. There are still some students that have either no internet or internet that is somewhat less than we would hope it to be. We have invested in buying 25 internet hotspots that are going to be deployed in the coming week to families of greatest need, but we may need to purchase some additional hotspots. But anywhere we think we can support that internet, we’re going to try to do it. The focus for the hotspots have come from a vision grant under the Governor’s funds that are to be used for that purpose.”
Regarding sports, Mrs. Hirsh shared that prior to Governor Northam’s recent executive order, they were going to limit spectators in terms of athletics. Because of the governor’s order, conditioning and the sport itself will not occur for the winter season, which in this case would be basketball for BCHS schools. As of now, no decision has been made for fall sports.
“We have taken our responsibilities very seriously about deciding what is the best and safest way to deliver instruction for this upcoming period of time and that it’s not an easy decision. We wish that we could continue to have children in school. So we hope that during the holiday season, Thanksgiving, that everyone is safe, healthy, and enjoys that time of vacation- and we are looking forward to continuing the year and getting back to quote, “normal” as quickly as we can.”
For AMR News, I’m Abby Dufour.