August 3 is the magic date for parents of K-8 children in the Montpelier Roxbury Public School District. It is within that date that they have to choose between in-school and remote learning for their kids—and it is not an easy one to make!
The complex problems of lockdown, curfew, and social distancing norms were thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic have played havoc in the lives of the population. Particularly affected are children who found mid-March that their schools have been abruptly closed.
Many believe now that this crisis is on the wane and life has to limp back to normal slowly. The question now before the school authorities are whether to be cautious and continue with virtual learning or throw the doors of schools open. A third option is a judicious mix of both with parents taking the final call.
Several central Vermont school districts have taken the last route. They have proposed that the needs of the students will be met through a combination of distance learning and in-person classes. The majority of the students would spend some time in the classroom, with the others being taught remotely.
Superintendent Libby Bonesteel of the Montpelier Roxbury Public School District has decided to involve the parents in the decision-making process. He has sent a questionnaire to all the parents with a deadline of August 3 to submit their opinion. The choice is clear. Do they want their children to return full-time to their classrooms–all in–or prefer a “virtual academy” currently under development for remote learning–all out?
The motive for opening the academy to all K-8 children is to allay the fears of all the parents who are still not comfortable with the thought of their kids venturing out of the house and going to school.
Bonesteel, though has kept the doors open for students wanting to go back to school five days a week. This step is especially for working parents and those who believe that virtual learning will not be better in September than what it was in March when the schools closed.
The survey is critical for Bonesteel. It will help her estimate the number of staff that has to be allocated to the academy that will function under the supervision of the district director of Curriculum and technology, Mike Berry.