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Results of school survey released

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SALYERSVILLE – Magoffin County Schools district staff are crunching the numbers of a recent online survey they held for returning to school this fall, with the majority of the responses voting in favor of continuing through online learning.

The school district received a total of 791 responses as of Monday, June 22, with 81% of the respondents parents or guardians, 13% employees and 9% students.

According to the results, 92.5% said they had a device at home to allow them to participate in NTI instruction.

Similarly, 92.4% said they had internet access in their homes (other than a cell phone). Other than a cell phone, 84.7% said they had a device to participate in online learning.

The participants were able to list what worked best for them during NTI instruction this spring, with responses such as packets, computer-based learning for older students and paper packets for primary, flexibility, teaching interaction and availability, Zoom meetings, flexible schedules and self-paced learning, MobyMax, and making sure they worked at the same time each day. Some noted that it was all review, nothing helped them, or that they really couldn’t do any of it.

As for the main issues they had while completing NTI assignments, respondents listed keeping the child focused and motivated, working parents, teacher help, help wasn’t instant, lack of teacher/student interaction, too much work, not enough one-on-one instruction, picking up the packets, lack of accountability, and repetitive, lengthy or boring assignments were too difficult or monotonous for the students to learn new material.

The respondents also were given a chance to say what they need at home, listing more Zoom classes, help from teachers and/or tutors, a computer/laptop/internet access, more training with learning programs/platforms being used, short video lessons and conferences, more feedback from teachers, and simply to be back in the classroom.

For the question regarding if they will feel safe sending their students back to school whenever the governor and commissioner allows schools to resume, 42.9% said no, 28.5% responded maybe and 28.6% said yes.

According to the data, 48.2% felt most comfortable with the complete online learning model, 30.1% with the hybrid model (in-person part-time and online learning part-time), and 21.7% with traditional (following CDC guidelines for social distancing, wearing masks, etc.).

The majority of the participants, 95.8%, noted that there are individuals in their homes with medical issues that put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19. The district did note that this was an optional question, with 647 people responding to it out of the 719 total responses.

The additional comments section was a mixed bag, with people for and against going back to in-person learning, with people concerned about the children’s mental health, ability to learn from home and the students’ overall safety. Childcare and busing were also listed as concerns. The mask requirement was also scrutinized by many participants.

The school district also surveyed the teachers, with 96 responses completed as of June 22.

According to the teachers that responded, 91.7% of them have a devise to use at home for NTI instruction (other than a cell phone) and 96.9% have internet access in their homes. When asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how comfortable they are with delivering virtual lessons to their students, 40.7% of the teachers rated it at a 7 or 8.

The teachers noted trainings that would help them to provide future NTI instruction include Google Classroom, Zoom, implementation for Primary students, how to address low income households/students with no internet access, MobyMax, any online meeting platform, strategies for engagement in an online setting, grading mechanisms to help with online instruction, live-video lessons, developing video lessons effectively, and accommodation for special education students.

Over half of the teachers, at 58.3%, responded that someone in their household has health conditions that would be a cause for concern if they return to a traditional school day.

Under additional comments and concerns, teachers noted they missed being in the classroom and worry about the effectiveness of online learning, as well as some noting they did not feel comfortable returning normally. Some suggested breaking the student body into groups and rotating the groups so all students could get some in-person time. 

At press time, no decision has been made regarding the 2020/2021 school year and the governor’s office released the following guidance on Wednesday:

- School funding will be based on the previous year’s calculations

- The following will not be required, but heavily suggested for reopening schools:
    - social distancing
    - face masks
    - screening and school inclusion
    - sanitizing and environmental factors
    - contact tracing

- Everyone will need to be 6 feet apart in the classroom, with some leniency and exceptions, but when social distancing is impossible, wear masks.

- Recommend smaller class sizes

- Must wear masks when moving around the school, on the bus, and anytime within 6 feet of others. 

- Temperature checks at school

- Students with COVID-19-related symptoms must stay home.

- Contact tracing (in conjunction with health departments).

They will be temporarily suspending two state statutes, including the 10-day limit for NTI days and the statute setting average daily attendance requirements for funding.

Schools will also be able to participate in the “Expanded Care Program,” which will allow schools to bill for services provided to Medicaid-eligible children, which is expected to serve 75% more students than before, with a 3-to-1 match in federal funding. Included in the program are speech therapists, occupational therapists, mental health professionals, school nurses, and audiology.
 

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Heather Oney

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