NEW DETAILS: Kettering survey aims to give ‘detailed information’ on back-to-school plan

The Kettering City School District is working to announce a plan this month to return to in-person instruction for the second quarter. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

KETTERING – Parents of students in Kettering schools can expect this week to be surveyed about issues involving a plan to return to in-person instruction amid the coronavirus.

The feedback will be part of the data used by one of the largest din Montgomery County as it plans to restart face-to-face instruction in the second quarter, said Dan Von Handorf, Kettering’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.

The surveys, commonly sent by email, are designed “to give parents some detailed information about what in-person learning will look like and to give them some detailed information about what remote learning will look like,” he said.

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It will be “enough information that they’ll be able to share their preference for their student” to choose between returning to school or continue remote learning, Von Handorf added.

A framework was recently released by Public Health Dayton & Montgomery County to help guide districts like Kettering. It is one of the largest area districts — along with Dayton and Centerville — which began the school year fully remotely after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine shut down schools due to COVID-19 in March.

Kettering Superintendent Scott Inskeep said earlier this month on the district’s website that he plans to release a “full back-to-school plan” by Oct. 20.

Kettering school officials met last week with groups of parents, administrators, teachers and others “to get feedback on what their wants and needs are,” Von Handorf said.

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A draft of the plan has been shared with the Kettering Education Association, the teachers' union, KEA President Karen Gouge' said in an email.

About 67% of KEA members responding to a survey this summer said they did not favor returning to in-person instruction at the start of the school year Sept. 8, citing local health officials' recommendation for remote learning.

“We were not willing to go against medical recommendations,” Gouge' said recently. “That being said, schools in our county have opened and we now know that schools can mitigate the spread by following important safety measures. Teachers have always wanted to be in the classroom, now we see that it can be done safely.”

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Kettering officials have talked with area districts which have already returned to face-to-face instruction, including Beavercreek, Mad River, Mason, Miamisburg and Vandalia Butler, Von Handorf said.

“They have been successful transitioning back,” he said. “And so we’ve been learning from their best practices….We’ve been talking to them about what has worked and not worked. I think we know a lot more than we did back in July, when we were making that decision. And we have some positive models that we can try to emulate to keep our staff and our kids as safe as possible.”

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