Nearly 90 students sign up for distance learning

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With the planned start of the 2020-21 school year rapidly approaching, students and parents may not believe it is time to get back into classroom amid continued positive case increases in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

During the Crawfordsville Schools public meeting last week at Crawfordsville Middle School, Superintendent Dr. Scott Bowling said a recent survey taken shows 87 students through all grade levels have enrolled for distance learning.

The middle school showed the highest number of students opting out of in-person instruction this fall at 14 sixth graders and 15 seventh graders

“Crawfordsville Middle School has had more signups than the other schools. There’s 33 at the middle school, 16 at the high school, 13 at Hose Elementary, 18 at Nicholson Elementary and seven at Hoover,” Bowling said. “I think we still have quite a few people on the fence as to whether they’re going to come back or not.”

He went on to say it is not likely due to a lack of information, rather that students and parents are waiting to see what happens next in an ever-changing environment.

“We’re still sort of building this as we go,” Bowling said. “We’re meeting frequently, talking about changes that we need to make and things that change from week to week.”

Board members estimated that 10 to 20 percent of students would choose distance learning, adding that a total of 87 distance-learning students would be below that expectation

Logistics for distance learning are still coming together for the district, which had sparingly utilized tools like eLearning prior to the spring when COVID-19 restrictions forced students to finish the school year at home.

“We have had, and we’re starting now to order hardware for the classrooms for distance learning,” Bowling said. “This will impact mainly (the high school). We’ve done several different tests for how best to do distance learning while (teachers) are also instructing other students and (microphones) seemed to work best.”

A lapel microphone and a standalone camera would allow teachers to utilize multiple models of instruction.

“They can have the student ‘come in,’ so to speak, at the normal time for that period,” Bowling explained. “Some teachers will probably opt just to tape themselves as opposed to doing a live broadcast. That’s fair game as well. And we think we’ll come up with more models, too.”

Outdoor classrooms will also be promoted, he said, as social distancing becomes easier with more space.

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