(BEDFORD) – During a brief meeting of the North Lawrence Community School Board, Superintendent Dr. Ty Mungle provided the board with information and rationale for sending students back to school on Monday.
With any decision affecting the student population, parents and guardians can always determine on their own what is safe for them.
Dr. Ty Mungle reports that when school started on August 13, 2020 the school system was able to make better accommodations and modifications in the schools as far as limiting the number of students and staff the corporation had to quarantine.
“We have used larger spaces and multiple locations for lunch, using auxillary gyms and different areas in wide hallways in order to do everything possible in regards to social distancing,” said Dr. Mungle.
In addition, they are using air handling systems to bring in larger amounts of outside air into the schools.
The school corporation has also increased the custodial staff to the best of their ability.
On November 16, 2020, the North Lawrence School Corporation had a peak of 262 individuals in quarantine across the school district. Today, the school corporation has about 150 individuals in quarantine across the school district.
The number of positive cases peaked in October following fall break, with a total of 23 positive cases according to school officials. This raised concerns in being able to properly staff buildings. That is when the NLCS decided to move to hybrid learning.
Since November 16, 2020 there have been a total of 12 positive cases throughout the school system.
There was an increase in middle and high school students who were diagnosed with COVID-19 following fall break. This was a factor in moving to a hybrid schedule throughout North Lawrence Community Schools.
There are now concerns about middle and high school students in regards to their academics and attendance. Everyone has faced challenges during the first trimester and quarter when the students first returned to school and throughout this first half of the school year.
From August 13th to November 13th (the first trimester for high school students) NLCS looked at grades. During this time data shows there were a number of high school students
A major concern is for seniors and how this might affect their schedules and what kind of changes are going to be needed for them, especially to catch those students up.
The absenteeism of high school students was also looked at for students that were having difficulty adjusting to their new schedule. Looking at the data from August to November from 9th – 12th grades, there were at least 10 students with one week or more of unexcused absences.
During the last week of school there were over 46 high school students with one week or more of unexcused abscences.
Middle school students have quarters and are on a semester system which has seen a drastic increase in the number of students that are needing additional support and increases in being absent at the 7th and 8th-grade level.
The North Lawrence School Corporation provides additional services to students such as school nurses, meals to families, as well as social and emotional support of the students.
The free meals have been provided to all students. However, there has been a decrease in the distribution of those meals for middle and high school students due to transportation issues.
“We have not seen an outbreak of COVID-19 in our schools or area schools or throughout the state,” said Dr. Mungle. “The school corporation works with the Lawrence County Health Department and contact tracing and the school corporation will continue to monitor the situation we have,” said Dr. Mungle.
The school corporation plans to return to in-person learning on Monday.
“We feel the meals, nurses, and all the services the school provides to be able to help our students, especially to the students at the middle and high school that need additional support, are very important factors in heading back to in-person learning,” said Dr. Ty Mungle.
If anything changes the school corporation says they will provide the information in a prompt manner.