Back to school (sort of)Apr 5, 2020 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
By Katie Roenigk
Riverton schools are closed indefinitely, with mandatory remote lessons beginning Monday for local students.
The decision was based on guidance from local health officials during the ongoing spread of coronavirus in Fremont County.
Similar at-home education plans are being implemented by other school districts in Fremont County.
Acknowledging the "great deal of stress" the situation places on families, assistant superintendent JoAnne Andre-Flanagan said Fremont County School District 25 is putting a plan in place that will help keep parents and guardians from being "overwhelmed" in the coming weeks.
"Many of you are trying to manage working from home or away from home while helping your children continue to access learning," she said in a March 28 letter. "We will do everything we can to help you, support you, listen to you and learn from you."
Prep daysR32;Andre-Flanagan anticipated the "first few days" of the coming week will be spent ensuring that all students in the district are "connected and comfortable with the online learning platform."
Schools will finalize their adapted learning plans Monday, she said, and on Tuesday and Wednesday electronic devices will be available for families in need.
Students will receive offline resources for use at home as well, Andre-Flanagan said, with each school building developing its own process for Wednesday homework pick-ups and drop-offs.
The district has ordered internet "hot spots" that should be available the following week for families without online access, Andre-Flanagan said. She said school officials have been contacting those families to discuss other options for internet use, offline activities and phone support.
For example, drive-up internet access will be available in the Riverton High School front parking lot, at Riverton Middle School, and at Aspen Early Learning Center.
The wi-fi name is "Internet-Only," and there is no password required.
"Drive-up wi-fi will allow your students to come in their vehicles to connect to free wi-fi for purposes of live-streaming and communicating with teachers and classmates as well as working using online resources," Andre-Flanagan said, adding that all of the district's internet access options will be filtered so that students "remain safe in their online environment."
Anyone using the drive-up internet locations is asked to remain in the vehicle at all times. Those who walk to the area are asked to maintain at least six feet of distance from other users.
Andre-Flanagan noted that playground equipment will not be sanitized.
'Serious content delivery'
Andre-Flanagan said "more serious content delivery" will begin once all families are situated.
The curriculum will focus on lessons "most critical for success in the next grade level or course," according to the district's adapted learning plan, with assessments taking place in the form of digital checks for understanding, video chat check-ins, and student-created demonstrations of learning.
Schools also will provide "enrichment opportunities" that families can use to "explore a variety of real-world, place-based learning opportunities for their children as part of their weekly schedule."
Attendance will be determined by tracking coursework submissions, academic-based communication, and participation in activities.
Teachers also will contact parents and students on a weekly basis to measure engagement, learn more about needed supports, and get feedback on the effectiveness of the adapted learning plan.
Students who are struggling with the new system will hear from the school more frequently and may be given additional support in the form of increased offline activities or small group and individual remote counseling and tutoring sessions.
The district also is designing a "summer compensatory education plan" that will provide onsite, small-group, targeted instruction to students who need more time to gain "the skills necessary to be successful in the next grade or course."
Counselors, social workers or other support staff will reach out to families that aren't responding to communications from the school - as well as families and students "that we know are high risk and need more frequent and regular contact."
"Crises bring high anxiety," the plan document states. "Nurses, social workers, counselors, and school resource officers are reaching out to these families and students daily to help them obtain the resources they need to thrive."
The district can facilitate access to hotlines, food pantries, shelters and medical facilities and has partnerships with the Department of Family Services, area churches, and local counseling offices that can be utilized to "provide physical and emotional safety and support."
Families also have access to two meals per day at four different drive-up meal locations in Riverton, or via delivery.
Requirements for graduation remain unchanged, the plan document states, with "digital learning calendars and classrooms" in place at both RHS and Frontier Academy.
"Teachers, counselors, administrators, graduation coaches and other staff have been organized to provide support for seniors to successfully complete their course requirements," the plan states. "Regular and frequent communication with parents is designed to keep them informed regarding their senior student's progress."