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Perrin-Whitt CISD officials discuss instruction during COVID pandemic

PERRIN – Perrin-Whitt CISD administrators gave an update on how they plan on educating the students during closure through April 3 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the school board’s regular meeting March 19, staff gave an update on what they had been doing to get instruction and food to the students. Students are able to receive breakfast and lunch to go by entering the front doors of the high school. Breakfast service times are from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. with lunch pickup between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Free and reduced meal prices will remain in effect for all students receiving those benefits, according to a release.

Secondary principal Loren Sell performed a survey of 182 families in the district asking how best to get food to the students be it curbside or home delivery. Fifteen families responded for the curbside or home delivery options.

Students will begin receiving their instructional materials Monday, March 23. Sell said teachers and staff began coordinating last week to prepare for this. Sell said the first week of instruction will involve reviewing past material, but he wants to make sure students are not being sent home with “busy work.”

“We want to keep it simple to start,” Sell said. “Students will be able to pick up instructional packets at three times every Monday: from 7:15 to 9:15 a.m.; from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.”

Materials will be placed in a large envelope with the student’s name and grade level on it. Completed materials are to be placed in the same envelope the following Monday and the process will be repeated.

Sell said completed coursework will be graded as normal each week with a help, do not hurt approach. 

“We’re telling teachers to be flexible and do what they can to help their students,” Sell offered.

Parents and/or guardians are asked to help ensure students complete the assignments. Teacher contact information will be in the first week packets for any questions which may come up.

Students enrolled in dual credit or distance-learning Spanish courses will have those courses continue as normal. Students are urged to log on to their specific classes, which are web-based, and complete assignments as normal, Sell said.

For the second (March 30) and upcoming weeks, teachers are working on putting together videos and possibly creating a login for question and answer sessions which could then be placed on Facebook or their page on the district’s website.

Sell said the potential for up to 20 mobile hotspots for wifi around the district remains a possibility after talking with Jack County Emergency Management officials.

Superintendent Cliff Gilmore says despite the pandemic there is still work to be done around the district. With groups of 10 or more not recommended, the 55 employees of the district are working together to schedule their time where everyone can get what they need done in a timely manner.

“The principals, the teachers everyone has done a great job as the situation evolves,” Gilmore said. “People still have jobs they need to do and that work will be staggered out as we develop a work schedule.”

Gilmore also said that all non contract employees, such as bus drivers, will be paid throughout the schools being closed.

“We have a great relationship with our hourly employees,” Gilmore said. “They will be getting a paycheck.”

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