Mingo County Student Learning Options for 2020-2021
Mingo County School District Student Learning Options
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in our schools closing on March 13, 2020. A great effort was put forth by our teachers as they worked within the state guidelines to engage students remotely till the end of the school term. The re-entry of our staff and students to the school environment is quickly approaching. Teachers will return to work on August 25 and students are scheduled to return on September 8. Our recent survey indicated there is concern from many of our families about their children returning to school in the usual fashion. Some are deciding if their children will return at all, leaving them with the dilemma of providing an appropriate education at home. The learning strategies of the spring closure will not be optimal for our students when they return in the fall. Therefore, the Mingo County Board of Education and the District office have worked with guidance from the Governor’s office, the State Board of Education, and federal, state, and local health agencies to develop the following learning options for Mingo County students and families.
Option 1: Blended instruction (4 days in-person and 1 day of remote learning)
A majority of students will return to school in this blended environment. Learners of all grade levels will attend school in-person, receiving face-to-face instruction from their teachers Monday-Thursday of each week. On Fridays, students will use their school-provided laptops to access remote instruction with some interaction with their classroom teachers taking place. For the most part the students will work independently on these days. All assignments will be accessed through our District’s learning management system (Open LMS) which is preloaded on the students’ devices. There is also an option for students to download assignments to their devices before leaving school, enabling students to work on assignments, even if they have no Internet access at home.
Option 2: Virtual learning (Student remains enrolled, but all learning occurs at home, during the school day)
Families who choose the virtual learning option will not send their students back to the school building. Home Internet access is required for acceptance in the virtual learning program. Instead completing the same assignments as students attending school in-person, virtual learners will be taught using a curriculum designed especially for virtual delivery. The curriculum encompasses the same learning standards our instructors are teaching in the regular classroom and will be taught or facilitated by trained Mingo County teachers. A curriculum for grades K-5 features a daily schedule of activities, many of them designed as learning projects, having a common theme between subject areas to raise the interest of students. The courseware for grades 6-12 is on another platform, which has been used by our virtual learning program since 2017. Students work through modules and units and participate in online discussions. Completed work from both curricula are both auto-graded and teacher-graded. All courses required by the State Board of Education are available.
Virtual students will log in and will be engaged in learning on a special schedule, which will occur during the regular school day. There will be virtual, video/audio interaction with teachers, so that students can get support as they work on assignments. However, this will occur at specific times during the school day. Virtual learners will be permitted to engage in school activities and organizations, just as the in-person students do. Families will have to work with school leaders to determine their chosen participation.
Virtual students may transfer back to the traditional school during the first two weeks of the semester. If they stay with the virtual program, students must remain virtual learners until the end of a semester. Transfers will only occur at the beginning of a semester.
Frequently asked Questions
Question: I hear the terms virtual learning and remote learning being used a lot. Are these the same thing?
Answer: Virtual learning and remote learning are two different concepts, in the context of our learning options. Remote learning refers to technology-aided learning that our in-person, or brick and mortar students participate in on Fridays, or should the school be closed during inclement weather. Remote learning will also take place for these students if the school is temporarily closed for COVID-19. Virtual learning refers to technology-delivered instruction for students who do not attend classes in the school building. The instruction is facilitated and taught by a certified Mingo County school teacher.
Question: My child receives special education services. Can they still be virtual learners and what services can they receive?
Answer: It is our recommendation that special education students attend in-person instruction. Nevertheless, there may be some families who decide the best option for their student is to attend school virtually. The special education teachers and the District Special Education department would address student needs and services on a student-by-student basis.
Question: What happens if my child cannot attend school because of weather?
Answer: Our new technology and instructional strategies will take away the need for a snow-day that will have to be made up, later in the year. Instead, students will be prepared for remote learning days if the weather is expected to be inclement.