With the coronavirus leading to uncertainty over the format of education for the coming school year, the Shelby City School District is pursuing varying options as it prepares.
"We are developing two, three, four different plans that are enough different from each other that we're going to pick and choose from those two, three, four plans and merge them into one, with the hope that it's going to meet the needs of everybody in the district," Shelby schools Superintendent Tim Tarvin told the school board at its May 19 meeting. "When I say everybody in the district, that means students, staff, families."
"We are leaving no stone unturned," Tarvin added, noting the hours of planning that is underway.
In-class K-12 instruction for the 2019-2020 school year in Ohio ended in mid-March due to the virus.
Though no decision has been made on 2020-21, officials have said that schools in Ohio could feature a combination of in-class instruction and remote/distance/online instruction as coronavirus prevention efforts continue.
"We'll get information out to the community as soon as we can," Tarvin said, noting the changing circumstances involved for Ohio school districts.
He spoke of a conversation with another education administrator in the state. "What he said was you put your plan out now, how much is it going to change in two weeks or three weeks or four weeks?"
"We just have to be proactive, and we've always said you have to be creative and flexible and innovative," Tarvin said.
"That's going to win the day for us, we believe," he continued. "We want to have a robust, rigorous curriculum, instruction. And that means whether it's a brick-or-mortar building or whether it's online or a combination of the two."
School board member Lorie White said: "The difficult thing is people want information, but it's always changing. It's very difficult to even brainstorm ideas because people latch on to one or two things, and it's (like) 'Oh my gosh. This is what's going to happen.'"
"They think it's definitively what's going to happen, and I think that leads to people being anxious," White said, adding that the situation also energizes people in the community.
"They're signing petitions for what they want for their kids and things like that," White said.
Tarvin responded: "I think it's important for us to stress in the community that we're listening to what they have to say and their perspective. Ultimately, we have to put a plan in place that best suits the needs of our kids and our families. And then part of that, quite frankly, is the safety of our kids..."
The Shelby district, he said, needs to both "roll out meaningful instruction and still keep kids safe and mom and dad comfortable."
"I feel pretty good about where we're at with that," Tarvin added.
As the district plans, an online survey sought to gather information from those with students attending Shelby schools. A link to the survey was available on the district's Facebook page, "Shelbywhippets." People were asked to complete the survey by the end of the day May 26.
The school board meeting, because of coronavirus prevention efforts, was closed to the public and shown live on YouTube.