BIDWELL — Gallia County Schools District Superintendent Jude Meyers said Tuesday that the district intends to carry forward with 2020 graduation and prom celebrations but is uncertain when those may come with the effects of COVID-19.
“We do plan to have a graduation and a prom,” said Meyers. “If you’re asking me when? I have no idea. We felt that those events are two significant events for our kids and whenever we get the clear and see eased restrictions, we’ll work within the guidelines given us. We know those things are important. It could be mid-summer but who knows?”
Meyers said the school district is having Snack Pack Thursdays and seeing a lot of community donations.
“Our meal team comes together on Friday,” said Meyers. “We have a group that comes in and packs the meals and then we have one that separates them by drivers and we have drivers and community volunteers. The meals will be separated in different areas of a gym in boxes so people can come and get them to distribute them. If you told me we’d be distributing food commodities a few months ago, I would have said no way. But we know how important it is to our kids. We’re up to now feeding about 850 kids.”
Meyers said the school district is currently delivering meals in an attempt to maintain social distancing measures. Student families need call the school to be put on a list for deliveries.
“We’ve been coordinating with building volunteers, bus drivers, the Ohio State Troopers and fire departments have been involved,” said Meyers. “We push out the meals in about a two-and-a-half hours window.We pack about five meals per bag for a week’s worth of meals.”
Meyers said that students’ schoolwork during the pandemic had forced teachers and staff to “reinvent” how they approached classes.
“A lot of our teachers are doing some technology things but we have phone calls, and emails and packets of information… because every kid is a bit different,” said Meyers. “This has really challenged us because internet (in the region) is not like it is in other parts of the state.”
The superintendent said the Ohio Department of Education had encouraged school districts to take a “snapshot” of student progress before school closures and if students were on course to graduate to consider them eligible for graduation.
“Right now, we’re waiting on more guidance (from the state) and we’re looking at (further work) as enrichment,” said Meyers. “We’re encouraging reading and things of that nature.”
Meyers encouraged students to continue doing their educational activities so that school days out can count as class days and not as “calamity days” and to keep asking questions.
Students taking advanced placement classes would likely be following whatever college schedule they are utilizing as per their course.
“It’s kind of a classic case of building the plane as you’re flying it,” said Meyers of educational institutions working to manage COVID-19 issues.
Dean Wright is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.
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