Lebanon schools announce plans to open for students in fall

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Lebanon City Schools announced plans Tuesday to reopen for 2020-21 school year on Monday, Aug 17, with precautions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The detailed precautions set expectations for staff, as well as students and parents or caregivers.

For example, parents are to go on-line to monitor progress if their students opt to stay home for on-line learning.

Students are to use only designated entrances to school and practice social distancing, while parents are to “conduct a personal health screening” before venturing on campus.

Before opening, the district will gauge the number of students actually showing up for school.

“Sometime in early July, you will receive a commitment form from the school district asking you to decide whether your child will be returning to school for face-to-face instruction or using the online learning option to learn from home. Both offer a quality curriculum and instruction. Your decision should be based on safety risk,” Superintendent Todd Yohey said in a letter to parents and caregivers of students living in the Lebanon school district.

The district developed opening procedures working with the Warren County Health District and after reviewing "questions and suggestions" from parents and caregivers.

MORE: Schools debate what classes will look like

“The plan that we share with you today has taken a long time to develop, with many unexpected changes from state and local leaders along the way,” Yohey said in the letter released Tuesday.

“When we open in August, the majority of our students will be back in classrooms. However, a survey from a few weeks ago reveals that approximately 400-600 students will be learning from home utilizing an on-line curriculum.”

Yohey also acknowledged some would disagree with “some parts of this plan.”

“It is an impossible task to develop a plan of this magnitude that pleases everyone. Our hope is that we have taken the precautions necessary to provide the safest learning environment for students and staff.”

The letter provides parents with email contacts for administrators depending on grade level and for the on-line alternative.

“Our school buildings are being prepared for students. Our technology is being prepared for students. We will need the first five days of school to prepare our staff for students,” Yohey said in explaining the Aug. 17 starting date.

On Tuesday, Warren County Health Commissioner Duane Stansbury said local school districts had met so school opening would be handled in “very similar way” and expressed preference for the classroom over the internet.

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