DuBois Area Schools will consider a revised schedule for students by Glenn Schuckers

On March 26,2020, DuBois Area Schools superintendent Wendy Benton provided information about how the district may complete the school year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benton said the PA Dept.  of Education had given schools three options in light of widespread school closings. Two of those options did not address the fact that without classrooms to attend students would lose valuable instruction.

The third option is to “Provide planned instruction.”  This option would include “formal teaching and learning similar to that which occurs in a classroom setting.”  Teachers would continue to follow and assess student progress and students would be required to attend online classes regularly and complete course requirements.

The superintendent  went on to explain that the district realizes there is a “digital divide” that exists in the district where not all families have the same access to the internet and equipment to take advantage of the online instruction. To minimize those differences she said the district will work with multiple vendors to acquire the necessary devices, and as soon as those devices arrive, families that have requested them will be able make arrangements to get them.

Once the equipment is available, district teachers will begin with five days a week of instruction to finish the third nine week grading period. Her statement said, “Nothing can replicate the quality of instruction that our professional educators provide through direct instruction in the classroom setting. However given the circumstances, we are committed to providing the best instruction possible through  an online platform.”

However, to make up the days that were lost after March 13,  Benton suggested that online learning on Saturdays could be an option. While the PA School Code states that “no school shall be open on any Saturday for the purpose of ordinary instruction,” Benton believes that this is not “ordinary instruction.”

If the school were to adopt this revised schedule she stated, “our kids have lost so much, instead of attending school possibly up to June 30, lets try to give our students a sense of hope that they can have a normal summer vacation,” adding, I’m confident we can complete 180 instructional days by the end of the first week in June.”

As to graduation she said, “if it could ever be possible to have a graduation ceremony, we want want to do everything we can to ensure that all graduates have an opportunity to participate. Several of our graduates plan to serve in the military and others have already committed to early entry admissions to college.

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