by Sarah Thomack
St. Joseph Post
Everything from school picture day for online students to the possibility of a COVID-19 case are things the teachers and staff are preparing for in the Savannah R3 School District.
Savannah students were given the option of attending in-person classes or online. School District Communications Coordinator Jess Gillett says about 15% of students enrolled in the virtual option. There are about 2,300 students in the district.
Gillett says feedback from parents and teachers has covered a lot of subjects.
“Lots of concerns that there’s no normal anymore, so everyone is concerned about everything, even down to how are our kids going to eat lunch at school? There’s a possibility that’s going to be different,” Gillett says. “Really our community has been very supportive, just asking a lot of questions.”
Gillett says the biggest question on everyone’s mind is what’s going to happen when the district has its first COVID-19 case.
“There’s a good possibility it’s going to happen, and the biggest thing that we can tell our parents is that we are going to react calmly and that we do have a plan in place and that we’re partnering with the Andrew County Health Department," Gillett says. "They will guide us through that and just because we have one positive case, doesn’t mean we’ll have to shut down the whole district.”
Gillett says they put plans into practice in the past few months when an athlete tested positive and someone who attended graduation ceremonies later tested positive.
“With each scenario we learned some things that either we were doing ok with and definitely some things that we can do better,” Gillett says. “Really, that, in some ways has made us feel more prepared for the fall because we’ve gone through it a little bit and it makes us that much more confident in the procedures that we have in place.”
As the first day of school gets closer, the district will be hosting a back to school night virtually this year.
“We should have bus routes ready, some of that normal back-to-school stuff, otherwise, a lot of it’s just information,” Gillett says. “Our teachers are all working really hard on virtual tours of their classrooms and we’ve had several teachers… they’ve made like a little virtual classroom that looks just like their real classroom so the kids can kind of explore that. So it’s very interactive, it’s not just, ‘Here’s a PDF with a bunch of information on it.’ I think it’ll be something that families enjoy and that kind of helps get the kids excited about going back.”
Virtual Back to School night is August 17th and the first day of school for the Savannah R-III School District is August 24th.