Garfield Re-2 schools go virtual during pandemic
Keeping with the governor’s orders for social distancing, Garfield Re-2 moves to virtual meetings and classrooms
Nearly 60 participants logged on to virtual meetings for a special school board session Tuesday in western Garfield County.
With the stay-at-home order in place the Garfield School District Re-2 is moving ahead with board meetings electronically through Zoom as they prepare to launch distance learning for students.
“We did launch our distance learning plans. Families received a communication last Friday outlining the time line of what we wanted to accomplish between now and April 17,” director of curriculum, instruction and assessment Julie Knowles said.
“For now the governor has declared that schools are officially closed through April 17. He did hint Monday that the closure may be extended.”
The district has been working at a feverish pace with instructional coaches, department heads and teacher leaders to train staff as they prepare to launch distance learning April 6.
Roger Gose, director of instructional technology, said the district is primarily using Google Classroom to help teachers supply lessons for students to complete online during the school closures.
Schools in the district are currently calling families, checking in on them, reestablishing relationships after losing contact for the last couple of weeks.
“During that call they are asking each family about their tech needs, internet access and devices for their student,” Gose said.
“We want every kid to have the best opportunity that they can to learn, and we want to make sure those devices are working properly for them.”
The district is using a drive-thru pickup procedure for families, which they believe is the safest way to get the devices to families that need them.
Gose said they are emphasizing that schools are following all the requirements for social distancing and maximum group sizes during this time.
Attendance will not be taken, and no grades will be given out between now and April 17.
“This time is really going to be dedicated to reconnecting with families, making sure they have the services they need, making sure they have the support and getting the technology distributed. We are very keenly aware of the very fragile place families are in right now, and proceed with caution,” Knowles said.
“If indeed the governor does decide to extend the school closure we may have to revisit, we may have to evolve our plan, and be a little more thoughtful on what grading and credit recovery looks like.”
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