Superintendent Ackerman Zooms through school-year questions


By Sam Shriver - sshriver@limanews.com



LIMA — Lima schools superintendent Jill Ackerman took to Zoom to address district parents and students on Wednesday afternoon.

More than 50 people logged into the Zoom session.

Ackerman discussed the uncertainty about how classes will look in the fall.

“It’s certainly been a very difficult time for all of us in the school district and just all of us really in the country. I know that all of you have gone through lots of trauma with the quarantine. It’s been a very difficult adjustment for us,” Ackerman said as she opened the conversation.

School is scheduled to begin Aug. 12.

Ackerman indicated there was some trepidation about when to start school and relied on the opinion of those in the medical field.

“(Dr. Wilfred Ellis’) advice to us as a school district was that we need to start school as soon as possible, because of the fear of late fall, early winter and if there was another wave of the pandemic, with the numbers really increasing and there’s always that possibility that we’re going to have to go back to remote learning,” Ackerman said.

Safety precautions will also be discussed with all students.

“The importance of handwashing, social distancing, how to wear a mask. We’ll need to have lots of conversations with the kids and be able to digest what we’ve been through,” Ackerman said.

Cleaning will be a priority.

“We know we have to ramp up our cleaning now. We’ve talked with our staff about the importance of cleaning desks between classes,” Ackerman said.

There will be physical dividers down the hallways, and all of the entrances to the school will be open to cut down on congestion.

Playground equipment will be sprayed with disinfectant after every recess.

Desks will be spread apart as far as possible.

Restroom breaks will be spread out by classes.

There are questions about the availability of lockers. It may be a situation where kids just carry their backpacks around.

Drinking fountains will be changed out to be bottle-filling stations.

As for lunch, kids will not be eating in their classrooms but will eat in the cafeteria with the tables spread out and there will be assigned seating.

The food will also be pre-packaged but packed lunches will be allowed.

All staff members will be required to wear masks.

As for students, the school board will consider a mandatory mask policy in grades 3-12 at the Monday meeting. This would only be if Allen County was in a Level 3 or 4 or the Governor mandates mask usage.

“That’s different than what we originally said,” Ackerman said.

Ackerman addressed rumors about parents having to sign “death certificates” before they go back to school.

“There’s no waiver or death certificate you’ll have to sign. That’s someone trying to spread fear,” Ackerman said.

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By Sam Shriver

sshriver@limanews.com

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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