Gallia educational institutions close, discuss plans

By Dean Wright - [email protected]

GALLIA COUNTY — Gallia’s educational institutions are working to make the best of difficult situations as students are sent home due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Ohio.

University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College President Ryan Smith issued a statement Friday saying that the partnered institutions would close temporarily. What follows is a statement given to Ohio Valley Publishing:

“At the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College we pride ourselves in making decisions that are in the best interest of our students, staff and faculty. The world is experiencing a pandemic causing our lives to be altered in many ways. Considering our focus on the Rio family, we have decided to temporarily close the Institution until April 6th to allow everyone to focus on their families. This situation is unique- but so is Rio. We believe in delivering a quality education based on personal interaction. In our rural setting, the lack of high-speed internet access to our students would be a huge barrier. Compounding that with the additional stress to find childcare, focus on their education, and take care of their families during this unprecedented time would create additional burdens for many. We will be communicating further details with our students, staff, and faculty today and the days to follow. Please continue to monitor your email and refer to our website for updates.”

Gallipolis City School District Superintendent Craig Wright also gave the following statement surrounding students and lunches given Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision to close Ohio schools in response to COVID-19 concerns. What follows is an electronic communication given to Ohio Valley Publishing:

“Gallipolis City Schools will be offering lunches to go for all students and community members who are 18 or younger. Lunches may be picked up at the Gallia Academy Middle School from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. starting on March 17th. As of now, these services will run through April 3rd and will cover the days that students will be out of school under Governor DeWine’s extended spring break. These services are being provided by the volunteer efforts of Gallipolis City School District staff.”

A message from Wright posted on the district’s website on Thursday stated:

“The Gallipolis City Schools is closing school to all students starting Monday, March 16th through April 13th. As of now, all students and staff will resume school on April 13th. This will take into account the already schedule spring break which was intended for April 6th through April 10th.”

A statement from the Gallia County Local School District read on Thursday:

“In light of the Governor, Mike DeWine’s announcement this afternoon, Gallia County Local Schools will close at the end of the day on Friday, March 13, 2020. School will be closed at least through April 3, 2020.”

Gallia County Local Schools is urging employees to monitor the district website and email for the duration of COVID-19 concerns. Staff is asked to report to work on Monday. Teachers will prepare emergency academic packets for the course of 20 days. No technology will be sent home with students in kindergarten through fifth grade. All coursework will be via paper. Students sixth grade and above will in some cases have paper packets, but otherwise will have access to their Chromebook and charger.

Payroll will continue for the school district.

Spring sports will be postponed. School buildings will be open March 17 as polling places.

Currently the school is waiting on guidance from the Ohio Department of Education in regards to make-up school time in the future, what will and won’t be included in local report card measures, testing requirements and special education requirements.

Gallia County Local Schools are also looking to with the state to provide five student meals in snack pack form. The meals will be distributed every Friday, for all students in the district who wish them, at River Valley High School and South Gallia. This is planned to occur for the duration of the schools’ break. Pick up times and details are still being determined.

A message from Ohio Valley Christian School via its Facebook page stated the school was closed beginning Monday with no school March 16 – April 3. The earliest date classes could resume is Monday, April 6 though at this time, that is a tentative date. Academic work was to be sent home with students. OVCS will maintain restricted office hours from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday-Friday unless otherwise posted.

A message on the Gallia Board of Developmental Disabilities Facebook page stated, “Guiding Hand School and Preschool will be closed from Monday, March 16th through Friday, April 3rd due to Governor DeWine’s order that all Ohio schools will have a 3 week spring break to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). School staff will report to work on Monday, March 16th to thoroughly clean the classrooms. The Gallia County Board of DD offices (including SSAs and Early Intervention) will be working normal hours. If you have questions or concerns, please call the school at 740-446-6903 or the board office at 740-446-6902.”

An email from Buckeye Hills Career Center on Thursday night stated, in part, due to Governor DeWine’s directive regarding the coronavirus pandemic and safeguards, it would be closed for three weeks beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3. School will resume on Monday, April 6. High School students were to be provided packets to work on during the mandatory shutdown. Adult students were to receive communications from their program instructors and coordinators.

By Dean Wright

[email protected]