Second packet of at-home lessons will be available early next week

Students at Mansfield Senior High leave the building at dismissal on March 16, the last day of classes before Gov. Mike DeWine’s order that closed all schools for three weeks. When, or if, schools will reopen this semester remains uncertain.

      Central office administrators met with the leadership of the Mansfield School Employees Association and building principals today via video and telephone conferences to arrange the preparation of a second set of at-home lessons for district students.

      By Friday, March 27, teachers are to create a packet of 13 days of lessons for students in Pe-kindergarten through high school. Starting March 31, the packets are intended to provide at-home study through April 24, excluding Good Friday and spring break April 13-17.

      The governor's current closing order extends only to April 3 but the additional at-home packet anticipates the likelihood of at least three additional weeks. 

      Andrea Moyer, the district’s director of school improvement, has developed a schedule to designate when teachers may go into their buildings, prepare lesson packets and make copies. Everyone will have their temperature taken upon arrival.

      MSEA president Brad Strong told his members the packets should contain “review and high-quality learning material.”

      Stephen Rizzo, district chief academic officer, said the new lesson packets will be available for pickup at each school from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 31-April 2. Families who cannot pick them up then can make arrangements with their principals.

      Teachers prepared 10 days of lessons to send home with students on March 16, the last day schools were in session before Gov. Mike DeWine’s mandatory three-week closing to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus. Those lessons will carry students through March 30.

      “Our goal is to move forward in the best way possible to meet the academic needs of students,” Superintendent Stan Jefferson said Monday.

      In early February the district received enough Chromebooks to provide one for every student to use during the school day. However, the governor’s ordered closing came before the district could obtain insurance or adopt a policy that would allow students to take them home. Consequently, lessons created during the closure are on paper.

      Jefferson and most other public school superintendents expect that DeWine will extend the closure of schools, perhaps through the remainder of the semester.

      “School districts face different challenges but one that we all face is uncertainty,” Jefferson said. “As we look to the Ohio Department of Education for direction, we cannot say yet how the closure will impact issues such as state testing. There is no playbook for dealing with the coronavirus. We are in uncharted waters."

      The district continues the distribution of sacked lunches and the next day’s breakfasts from 12 to 1 p.m. each weekday at Mansfield Senior High and Malabar Intermediate School. Food service manager Lauren Moran has submitted a request to ODE to add more lunch distribution sites but has not received approval. The sack lunches/breakfasts must meet federal school lunch requirements, including a daily count of the number served.

       “I wish that I could tell you when our students will return to their classrooms, but I cannot,” Jefferson said in his Sunday evening fireside chat. ‘COVID-19, the coronavirus, continues to disrupt virtually every aspect of our daily lives.

      “There is light at the end of the tunnel. A vaccine already is being tested on volunteers.

      “As a nation, as a state, and as a school district, we will overcome the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19. Buses will roll again. School bells will ring. Classes will resume.

      “We remain strong together.”

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