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Parent’s Playbook: Plymouth Community Schools superintendent discusses new year

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 6:23 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Plymouth Schools start next week, but they're holding off on in-person instruction.

Our very own Tricia Sloma spoke with the superintendent of Plymouth Community School District, who explains their latest plans to ease into the new school year.

Tricia Sloma: The Plymouth Community School District has been added to a list of schools that are holding off in person instruction for now. Joining me now for our Parent’s Playbook is superintendent, Dr. Andy Hartley Good to see you.

Thank you. Tricia thanks for the invitation this morning.

Tricia: Now you are set to start on Aug. 12 but a letter went out to parents last week that said you're actually going to start with virtual learning for eight days. Why the change?

Well, we've been collaborating with the Marshall County Health Department along with all the Marshall county superintendents throughout the entire since last spring really, when schools closed and then throughout the summer as we've been gearing up for the start of school, continue to work with them and, and, through that collaboration, we are observing a rise in the positive cases in Marshall County. And with that, the recommendation from the Marshall County Health Department was that we slow down the start of in- person school and so our decision was let's go ahead and get the school year started, we'll just start it through our e-learning means, and just do it for a short stint here and the reason for that is we had the spike in numbers but then we started to see that trend going down in a positive in a good direction so the hope is for us to be able to resume in-person learning for those who've selected it Aug. 24.

Okay. And with that, on Aug. 24, with that, in-person instruction resuming, what can kids expect in the buildings?

Similar to probably what people have seen other districts, as far as what their plans are and that's to just maximize the distancing in classrooms, between kids and between teacher and kids.

There'll be masking requirements that are in accordance with Governor's executive orders. And, you know, we'll have lots of hand sanitizer and hand washing that's part of our protocols. They'll be assigned seats aren't something new in schools but we'll see them in additional areas such as cafeterias and on buses. All the kind of typical precautions that we're seeing pop up in planning and return to school plans and other districts, you will see in Plymouth as well.

Okay, well the letter that you sent to parents also explained that extracurricular activities could continue under the instruction of the coaches with protocols in place. That means you've had an idea of how it's going. What is working with your athletics?

Sure. Sure. Well, being outside is a good thing. That that helps keeping those kids in in their smaller groupings and their cohorts has also helped. And just maintaining good distancing, good hand washing. Our student athletes have been wearing a face mask certainly when they can. We take it down if they're getting into higher levels of aerobic activity but they've been doing a great job with that and so, just the fact that they're out and exercising, and in starting to connect with their particular with their peers and their particular sports has been a positive thing for them. So those are the things that we've implemented but we've been allowed to keep those going from our health department just to kind of keep that hope, maintain that positive experience for them. And, you know, hopefully, then, if we're able to come back on the 24th and they can keep moving forward in essence as well.

Every day is a learning experience, I'm sure.

It sure is.

Thank you, Dr. Hartley. Good luck to you as you start this new year.

Thank you, Tricia.

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