DAYTON — On the first day of school, Carroll High School students will wear masks, receive instruction behind plexiglass, and follow one-way traffic flow in hallways and stairwells.
But school officials say academic instruction will be as close to typical as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Students will learn from teachers in classrooms with the normal expectations for academics and personal conduct still in place,” Michael Franz, director of communications, said.
Principal Matt Sableski said the start of school is the culmination of months of collaborative research and work, as faculty and staff ironed out details and put the best plan together.
“While all things are fluid and subject to change, one thing is certain: Carroll will continue to meet the needs of students and their families in the very best way,” Sableski said during a video address to families. “Educating students safely is our number one goal. In return to school, we must be able to balance personal freedoms and safety to ensure we keep our doors open for our students to learn.”
Sableski said the reopening plan — “Leading Forward: A Safe and Healthy Return to School” — is about mitigating risk, not eliminating it.
“The plan is about finding a way to live with the virus and how to do so in a school environment,” he said . “It’s going to be with us for a while, so we must find the best procedures to educate our students in the curriculum, form them in their faith, and teach them to live their own lives in a safe and healthy way.”
Before they step into the building for the first time after several months away, students will do what they’ll do every morning for the foreseeable future — a full symptom check, including temperature, at home. Students who have a temperature of 100 degrees or above must stay home until he or she is symptom-free for 72 hours.
All students will report for a first full day of classes on Monday, Aug. 24. The staggered start — with freshmen and transfer students arriving for orientation on Wednesday, Aug. 19; Baltimore, Charity, and Gonzaga reporting for their first day on Thursday, Aug. 20; Mercy, St. Mary’s, and Trinity showing up on Friday, Aug. 21 — will allow students to get familiar with new safety procedures before then.
Remote learning days will be held on the first four Wednesdays of the year — Aug. 26, Sept. 2, Sept. 9 and Sept. 16. For families who chose the full-time remote learning option, students will receive instruction from Carroll teachers.
According to Franz, students in the building will have assigned seats, and all seats and desks will be sanitized before each class. Common areas will be limited and students will carry most course materials in their backpacks.
A new daily schedule for in-person learning will allow for more transit time in between classes:
8:55- 9:40 a.m.
9:50- 10:35 a.m.
10:45- 11:30 a.m.
11:40 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
12:30- 1:15 p.m.
1:25- 2:10 p.m.
2:20- 3:05 p.m.
Alternative plan, if COVID calls for it
Montgomery County remains at a Level 3 Public Emergency on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, indicating “very high exposure and spread.”
Franz said, moving forward, Carroll has a plan if the county or state health department imposes any additional restrictions. The school is prepared to move to two different models of instruction: a blended learning model or a whole-school remote learning plan.
Blended learning would include students attending school in person every other day and have remote classwork the opposite day. Students would report to school by house or by alphabet; siblings would be on aligned schedules. At home, students would log into each class remotely.
“This model presents certain logistics and pedagogical challenges, but we are prepared to make it work for our families should the need arise,” Franz said.
A whole-school remote learning plan looks similarly to how Carroll operated at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
” … our teachers will be preparing students to work in this model from day one,” Franz said.
Students would use their Chromebook for classes on all days but Wednesday, which would be set aside for Mass and academic help sessions. Teachers would present in “live time” or show videos, or post an assignment due at the end of the period.
If permitted, staff would work with small groups of students needing extra support at school once or twice a week and athletics and after school activities would continue.
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