JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – While statistics say children are less likely to get severely sick from COVID-19, some teachers will be the most people in the classroom. But Midtown Public Charter School found a way to protect them, using classroom monitors.
Principal Kevin Parkinson has over 250 students, teachers and staff to protect from a school-wide COVID-19 outbreak. Back in June, Midtown was one of the first schools in the Jackson Metro to release a draft reopening plan.
Parkinson said they intentionally released it early and in draft form, “because we wanted to continue to monitor COVID numbers. And more importantly, we wanted feedback.”
From the conversation with their stakeholders, Midtown formed a hybrid plan, including:
-Alternating two groups of students between in-class learning and distance learning
-Providing masks to everyone
-Eating lunch in classrooms
-Desk six feet apart
-Daily temperature checks
But even with advance planning, things change.
Just a couple of weeks after releasing the new plan, administrators scrapped it and decided to begin school on an all distance learning mode. “Some of our staff said, ‘I really want to continue to contribute to the school. I don’t know for my own personal health reasons and advising with physicians that they can physically be present’,” Parkinson said.
Though students would have had limited contact in the original plan, teachers would not. But Parkinson says classroom monitors will be the solution for when students do return to the classroom. “That small subset of staff members will be permitted to work from home, continue to create lesson plans, grade, do all the things that they love to do and they are really really good at while having somebody else in place who might be in a more physically healthy position to be in a campus environment,” Parkinson explains.
Until then, classrooms will remain empty. Students will once again pick up the laptops they used when schools closed doors in March.
Midtown is considering allowing a certain number of families to send their child to school anyway next month. Those few students would be monitored by staff, and socially distanced.
“I think it’s important to remember equity doesn’t mean the same as equality. And we need to honor everyone’s need, perspective and position. And for some people, it might mean different amounts of support.”
Midtown administration will reconsider the hybrid plan at the end of August.