Mad River schools will give students option for online learning

Mad River School District is working on finalizing its back to school plan for the 2020-21 school year. FILE PHOTO
Mad River School District is working on finalizing its back to school plan for the 2020-21 school year. FILE PHOTO

Like several other Miami Valley school districts, Mad River Local Schools plans to give students and families a choice between in-person schooling and remote learning.

Mad River Local Schools Superintendent Chad Wyen said the deadline for families to choose the remote learning option is Monday.

“We realize that we have families who have students with health issues who don’t feel it is safe to return to school and we realize we also have families who just don’t feel comfortable sending their kids back to school right now,” Wyen said. “We want to make sure we’re giving kids an equitable experience no matter which option they choose.”

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Based on a survey the district put out, Wyen expects about 20% of the district to opt for online learning.

Wyen said all students and staff will be required to wear a mask while at school, on the playground or on the bus.

At the board’s July 27 meeting, the first in-person meeting since the coronavirus pandemic started, they approved a remote learning plan to send to the state and had a first reading on a new mask policy. The policy states students over 2 years old will have to wear a face covering.

The school district has to give a written explanation to the health department for any staff member not wearing a mask, the policy states. The mask policy will be up for board approval on August 24, Wyen said.

“I hope the community trusts schools to do in-person learning. We are doing everything we can to create a healthy and safe environment for students and teachers,” Wyen said.

Some other things that will be different this year include social distancing at recess, on the bus and in the cafeteria.

Once students get on the bus, they will be put hand sanitizer on. They must wear a mask and sit in their assigned seat.

Lunch time will also look a little different this school year. The cafeterias will only be seating at half capacity, so Wyen said lunch times will likely change. Some students may eat in their classrooms. The plans for the cafeteria will be finalized after the remote learning application comes back, he said.

The district has installed shields at secretaries’ desks and in classrooms with tables that cannot be separated for social distancing, like science labs and art classrooms.

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Wyen said the district will use GermStop, a disinfection treatment that lasts for 30 days.

The district will use the Alpha and Omega service in all eight of the buildings and on all school buses. This disinfectant stays on surfaces and continues killing germs even with other cleaning, Wyen said. GermStop will be applied every 30 days for 10 months.

Also new this school year, the district and Five Rivers Health have partnered to provide telehealth for Mad River Local Schools. This will be available for students whose families give consent and for staff in each building’s clinic.

Wyen said the district will finalize plans for online learning after families return the remote learning application. He said the goal is to have all students taught by teachers in the district, but they may have to use a third party company for curriculum.