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Parent’s Playbook - Lakeshore

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Michiana parents have been very vocal in their requests to see improvements to online learning. When Lakeshore students go back next week, they’ll have about 25% of kids learning from home.

Tricia Sloma talked with Lakeshore Superintendent Phil Freeman about the learning options.

Tricia: Our Parent’s Playbook takes us up to the shores of Lake Michigan and Lakeshore public school superintendent, Mr Phil Freeman joins me now from Stevensville. Good morning.

Mr. Freeman: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Tricia: Your start date is August, 31. Was there any hesitation with keeping it at that date or did you think maybe you should start until after Labor Day?

Mr. Freeman: Actually this year was the first year that we’re starting before labor day in quite some time. And we made a decision, late spring, as we were putting our plans together, and we believed that the sooner we can get kids back in school, if it was safe, the better for us, and we made a decision along with most of the districts in the county to start on August 31st.

Tricia: So many school systems have been surveying parents to say, what do you want as far as learning options? What did the parents say in your district?

Mr. Freeman: Well we heard two things that I think were really important. Number One was that we want an option. And so we had to create an option for our parents that wanted to keep their kids home. Understanding even with all the protocols that we put in place that they still had some apprehension maybe some anxiety about sending kids to school. So, we created Lakeshore Virtual Academy for those parents. The other parents that wanted in person instruction understood that at some point we may have to go back to remote learning as we did last spring, and what they told us, loud and clear was, you know, we were gracious and patient as the district put in emergency plans for our learning online with our with our children, but we expect something much more robust as we have some time to prepare for that going into the fall so. So we have two pathways. First pathway is in person instruction with the opportunity to go remote, if the community outbreak points us in that direction. It also our parents had an option to just go ahead and choose, virtual option for the first semester.

Tricia: What’s the percent? Do you have a lot more in person or do you have a high number of kids logging on?

Mr. Freeman: As we get ready to start the year, we’re looking at about 25% of our students that chose the virtual options. So 75% of our students are going to start the year in person.

Tricia: What are you doing for those in person kids? Masks in the hallway and in the classrooms?

Mr. Freeman: We are in a position right now we’re early on we made a decision that at the secondary level and grades six through 12, that students would be wearing masks all day, except during their lunch periods. We also decided that with the advice that we had time early on that our elementary students will be able to go without wearing masks, when they were with their cohort in classroom, but the CDC as late as last Friday, has changed their guidance and they’re putting more emphasis on wearing masks, even with, even with children so. So we’re gonna we’re going to watch what happens as we get into the first couple of weeks of the school year, the elementary students with their mask wearing. We’re gonna try to present as many opportunities, where we can socially distance them and get them outside and keep them within their cohorts to not have to wear masks but we’ll probably have masks for many parts of the day, even in elementary.

Tricia: A lot of extra measures in place it sounds like. Mr Freeman, thank you for your time, we wish you the best.

Mr. Freeman: Thank you.

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