Miamisburg schools is surveying families in the district to help them with basic needs in coping with the spread of COVID-19 that has shut down schools. FILE

Coronavirus: Survey helps Miamisburg schools ID family needs

The district is seeking online feedback through a community needs survey that poses questions on issues ranging from family food and housing status to childcare needs to reliable access to tablets, laptops, computers and smartphones.

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“The goal of that is to make sure all of our kids are being serviced properly,” school board President Dale Toadvine said. “Our major concerns are obviously the bigger needs — food, shelter, medical attention … if anybody needs those kinds of things.

“Right now is just a very, very difficult time for everybody,” he added. “For the people who are less fortunate, it doesn’t mean they’re not loved. It just means that they might be doing without some things that the school can be able to help them with.”

The district — which includes the city, most of Miami Twp. and parts of German Twp. — has about 5,400 students.

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The survey can be accessed at tinyurl.com/qt53fqm. It includes 15 questions and can be filled out in a few minutes.

For families with “extreme needs,” there is an option to share contact information if they want the help of a district social worker to “to see how we can help them get connected to resources in the community,” said Amy Dobson, director of elementary education for the district.

The questionnaire was provided for free by Panorama Education, a Boston-based firm that supports more than 9 million students in 46 states and 15 countries, according to its website.

It was put online last week after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine extended the school shut down to May 1 to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, Dobson said.

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A key aim of the survey is to assist heads of households with curriculum and instructional issues, Dobson said.

“We recognize they cannot replicate an entire school day in their homes,” she said. “So we are really looking to partner with families and support them as we all are trying to navigate these unchartered waters.”

Early results indicate the vast majority of participants have access to an electronic device, reliable internet and a stable food situation. But about 10% of families are “relying on the school district and community resources for food,” Dobson said.

The district is holding weekly food distribution from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays at several community sites. Those interested can call the district’s central office at 937-866-3381.

There is not currently a date when the district will end the survey, Dobson said.

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