Blended traditional, remote learning for 2020-2021 year

Oneonta City Board of Education

Last week, the Oneonta City School Board released the results of its system-wide parent survey related to the reopening of school. Those results, along with the continued rise in COVID-19 cases, indicate a need for both a traditional learning option as well as a remote learning option for the 2020-2021 school year.

It also created a need for a revised calendar for the school year. The board approved both the learning plan and calendar in a special called meeting Tuesday morning.

“We have worked tirelessly to put a plan into place that will work for our schools, our teachers, and our students,” Superintendent Daniel Smith said. “We believe that what we have created will give our teachers an opportunity to successfully teach all of our students whether they are in a classroom or learning remotely.”

Oneonta’s calendar is very similar to Blount County’s calendar with a start date of Thursday, Aug. 13, for students. Teachers report for their first day on Thursday, Aug. 6.

The additional time for teachers is necessary for training on the state’s newly adopted platform. While the platform is intended to give schools the tools needed to successfully blend traditional and remote learning, it will be the end of July before officials have access to it.

Oneonta will also transition to a four-day week. On Mondays, students will participate in E-learning from home. Smith explained that this will allow for deep cleaning of the school on a weekly basis.

He told the board that school officials would begin sharing the revised calendar and the 2020-2021 learning plan to teachers, parents, and community Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday. Weekly updates will also be shared from now through the start of school on the school’s website.

“We have to communicate with our teachers and with our parents consistently,” Smith said. “This is a very fluid situation and we realize that there could be changes. But, right now, we believe that we have a plan in place that best fits our system and our community. We look forward to welcoming our students back to school on Aug. 13.”

For more information on the learning plan, go to www.oneontacityschools.com. We will follow up on the school’s plan in next week’s paper.

In other business, the board hired Leigha Rogers as principal of Oneonta Middle School. Rogers comes to Oneonta from Locust Fork where she served as assistant principal.

In welcoming her to OCS, Smith said, “I’ve known Leigha for many years and she is a very dedicated and hardworking employee. But more than that, she is a great person.”