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Students adapting to distance learning, say principals

Distance learning at Edgar Public Schools during the COVID-19 pandemic is going as well as can be expected, school principals told the Edgar Board of Education at Friday special meeting.

“The teachers are working hard, the students are working hard,” said high school and middle school principal Tom McCarty. “We are working through computer issues, who needs hot spots, and we are giving the parents the tools they need to help the kids. It’s moving in the right direction” The principal said most teachers are providing recorded lectures to students over the internet, rather than offer live streaming. The reason, he said, is that some students have childcare duties during the day and must do their school work at night.

He said the distance learning was delivering the normal school curriculum just on a “different platform.”

“The kids are not doing busy work,” he said.

Elementary principal Lisa Witt said school staff has inundated parents with information about what to do to help with the education process during this distance learning period. “We erred on the side of too much communication,” she said. District administrator Dr. Cari Guden said the school would soon send an online survey to parents asking them to critique current distance education and asking them for comments and suggestions. “We will see what messages we will get,” she said.

In other school board business:

_ Board members voted to continue to pay non-essential hourly support staff workers two-thirds of their pay while school is closed as recommended by the school administration. Administrator Guden argued that this would provide more financial stability to all hourly support staff.

_ Guden told school board members to think about funding maintenance projects with savings accrued during the pandemic school closing. Possible projects are, she said, $10,000 in needed repairs to the elementary school playground equipment, regular maintenance of a section of school roof and removal of asbestos flooring in two or three classrooms.

Edgar school board members held a virtual meeting using Zoom software as part of social distancing to contain the spread of the coronavirus.