By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A new “Return to Learn” website details options for Yukon students to participate in traditional, virtual or blended learning during the 2020-21 school year.
Yukon Public Schools’ Technology Director Jason McDaniel and YPS Communications Specialist Larissa Lockwood have been credited for their work developing the site, which has a direct link on the YPS homepage.
“When you click there, it takes you to a website dedicated that is specifically dedicated to our kiddos coming back to school,” YPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said. “It will continue to be populated with more and more information as we go.”
In-person, at school learning is the preferred method for the new school year. But families who are not comfortable sending children back to the classroom due to COVID-related health concerns can request a virtual (on-line) learning program.
A third option (referred to as “blended”) for high school students is a combination of in-person and on-line instruction.
The “Return to Learn” website includes a family survey that shows 56.7% plan to send children to school for the 2020-21 school year that starts Aug. 20.
Another 23.7% plan to apply for virtual learning, which is set to begin Aug. 26. YPS received 3,685 responses to the survey.
Survey results indicate two primary concerns about returning to school – having a child exposed to COVID-19 and bringing it home to a high-risk family member and a child’s increased proximity to people not honoring federal guidelines.
The site features many other resources related to the novel coronavirus and returning to school.
SCHOOL SAFETY, CLEANLINESS
YPS facilities will not be rented for use by outside groups until after Sept. 1 – at the earliest.
It’s all in the name of school safety and cleanliness.
The restricted use could be extended past Labor Day, Dr. Simeroth explained at Tuesday night’s YPS board meeting.
“We’re just trying to do our best to protect our kids and keep our buildings clean,” he said.
“It’s going to be hard enough once we get started back to school.
“We’re going to do the best we can to keep everybody healthy and continue learning. That’s what we’re here for.”
YPS officials won’t require face masks.
“We are highly encouraging every teacher and every student to wear them,” Simeroth said.
Yukon’s school chief pointed out this is an “extraordinary time with extraordinary conditions.”
YPS board members commended school personnel for their efforts on back-to-school preparations.
Board Vice President Chris Cunningham noted this behind-the-scenes work takes a lot of time out of staff members’ personal lives.
“As a board member, I am appreciative of them,” he said.
Board Member Leonard Wells said YPS staff have been “doing a lot of hard work this summer” to prepare the district for the 2020-21 school year.