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Parent’s Playbook: A conversation with Goshen Community Schools superintendent

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:23 PM EDT
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GOSHEN, Ind. (WNDU) - The Goshen School Board recently approved a five course plan that will change depending on the pandemic.

For our Parent’s Playbook, our own Tricia Sloma asked Dr. Steve Hope what that means for students:

Dr. Hope: So our plan is to start school on August 10 as scheduled. And our elementary students then will have a shortened kind of isolated day where they're just in their one classroom with one teacher, they will not be moving throughout the school they'll eat lunch in their classroom, and they'll be released in school about 1:30. So it's kind of a concentrated, isolated, shortened day for elementary students. For secondary students at Goshen Middle School induction High School, they'll be on a hybrid schedule where only half of them report to school so half are engaged in person learning, and the other half then are engaged in online learning. Those students will come to school for two days, then every Wednesday will be an E learning day for everybody where we clean the schools. And then the other half of the students will come on Thursday and Friday.

Tricia Sloma: All right, well Elkhart County remains the highest county in our viewing area in terms of COVID cases so what's going to be your testing policy? And then what happens if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19?

So Goshen Community Schools along with all schools in Elkhart county and working closely with Guilford County Health Department on procedures for recording and contact tracing so anytime we have a student or a teacher or any employee who tests positive for covid will report that the Elkhart County Health Department, the health department then will work with us, contact tracing and contacting all the people who have been less than six feet from this person who's tested positive for more than 15 minutes.

Okay, face masks are a touchy subject. Protests were recently held in Goshen so what happens is, several of your students refuse to wear a mask in your building?

So face masks are just a non-negotiable for us. As we all know, Governor Holcomb has a face mask mandate. There's also a face mask mandate here in Elkhart county. We anticipate all of our students complying with this 100%. If a student refuses to wear a face mask, they will simply not be admitted into our classrooms. We'll just call the parent and have the parent pick them up.

Hey, let's change the subject a bit. Can you give us a construction update?

So one of the happy parts of this pandemic is the construction projects have been going on schedule, and on budget, with no interruptions. So we have two major construction projects here and ocean. One is Goshen High School renovations and additions. That's wrapping up now so we'll be ready for our first student day on August 10, and then Goshen Intermediate School continues to roll along. The outside of the building is about to finish out and then over the next year we'll finish the inside.

Good problem to have when you can get that much work done, right.

Yes.

Well Dr. Hope you have been the acting superintendent, Dr Woodworth's retirement in February. What an introduction to the job, by the way. If you would please talk about your longtime affiliation with Goshen and how this gives you a special connection to the district.

Sure, Goshen's always been kind of our go to place. So my wife and I worked in Penn Harris Madison for a number of years. Goshen was always kind of a getaway spot. We would come and ride bike trails, go to the restaurants or the many shops, businesses here in Goshen. It's just a great community with great people. We've enjoyed it for many, many years. When the opportunity came to apply for a position hearing notion I jumped at that opportunity. And I'm thrilled now to serve as superintendent for Goshen.

Tricia: Well, we thank you for your time this morning, best wishes for a health and healthy and safe school year.

Thank you so much.

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