LIMA — Area schools have begun rolling out their plans for the next three weeks following Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement Thursday.
Across the board, the focus continues to be ensuring that learning continues and that meals are still being provided for students.
Lima schools Superintendent Jill Ackerman held a press conference Friday morning to address each of those concerns. The district has laid out a plan for next week, during which they will evaluate to see the best way to continue.
Much like all area districts, students will be completing assignments electronically through systems like ClassDojo, Remind, Schoology and Google Classroom. At districts like Allen East, Beth, Columbus Grove, Delphos, Fort Jennings, Miller City and Ottawa-Glandorf, students already have access to their own devices that they will be able to use during this time or can arrange for one to be signed out.
For those families who do not have access to the internet, schools are asking parents to contact their children’s buildings to arrange for hard copies of assignments to be completed. Ackerman said Lima schools will have pickup times for hard copies from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The message remains the same across all platforms from DeWine to the schools — this is still meant to be a time of learning. As of Friday, most schools had not made changes to district calendars or state testing timelines.
“That stuff doesn’t matter to me — whatever they decide is what we’ll do,” Ackerman said in regard to testing. “What’s priority for us is to provide good stuff for kids to do, not look back when we did those blizzard bags, they weren’t very productive. We’ve got the ability now to do a lot of really good online stuff to provide good, solid lessons so we can pick up Tuesday where we left off Friday and keep teaching those standards.”
In Friday’s press conference, DeWine announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved two waiver requests to continue school breakfast and lunch programs during the closure.
Lima schools will have sack lunches available for pick up from 10:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Those will also include items for breakfast the following morning and are not limited to students who attend each school. The food banks inside Unity, Heritage, North and Freedom Elementary schools will also be open.
Bath, Perry, St. Marys and Wapakoneta also have food plans in place. For those pickup times, visit the district websites and social media.
With many other administrators, Ackerman said they had already started planning for closure circumstances, so once the announcement broke it was just a matter of putting a full plan together.
“It was difficult to respond yesterday; it was late in the day. We happened to just make sure we were on there listening to the message and it really didn’t feel like he was going to say anything about school,” she said. “When he did, it was all alarms going off, we’ve got to sit down and put our plan into action. We had already been having a lot of conversations in the district with administrators and curriculum people and had some ideas.
“About midweek next week, we’ll see how things are going,” she added. “I didn’t want to go any further than next week just because it changes sometimes by the hour and the day, so next week we’re going to assess what we’re doing and put together a schedule moving forward for the following week.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.