AthleticsPosted by Alan Boucher on 10/19/2020
Among all the topics in education related to the current COVID crisis, few have involved more uncertainty and confusion than athletics. Since March, coaches and athletes have been waiting for definitive information about whether there will be seasons and, if they are going to be allowed, how they will be conducted. Please note that all remote students are allowed to participate in athletics and school activities (e.g., jazz band, scholastic bowl). Here is some information about how things currently stand. Please be aware that this information can and probably will change as the school year moves along.
HS Fall Sports: Cross Country and Golf are being held but teams and individuals will not be able to progress beyond sectionals. I am happy to report that our boys’ golf team won sectionals! Football, soccer and volleyball will be held in the spring. Football will be limited to 7 games. Practice will begin February 15 and games will begin on March 1. No decision has been made regarding post season tournaments.
HS Winter Sports: Basketball will be conducted with a limit to the number of games being played. The number of individuals that can be in a gym is 50. After you count coaches, players, referees, cheerleaders and the athletic trainer, there won’t be very many available slots for fans. We do have a robotic camera system that will automatically broadcast games over the internet. Right now, there is a plan to have wrestling. No decision has been made regarding post season tournaments.
HS Spring Sports: Because football, volleyball and boys’ soccer have been moved to the spring, the traditional spring sports like track, girls’ soccer, baseball and softball have been moved to the summer. The first games will begin on May 3rd and end June 26th.
JH Sports: JH football will not be held this year. Volleyball, wrestling and Boys’ basketball will start in January. Track and girls’ basketball will begin in March. A final decision about state tournaments has not been made.
How Will We Be ChangedPosted by Alan Boucher on 9/30/2020
Some of the changes resulting from World War Two, 911 and hurricane Katrina evaporated and things reverted back to the way they were. Some of the changes remained, however. After World War Two, women continued to work outside of their homes. After 911, airport security became much more rigorous. After Hurricane Katrina, the entire New Orleans public school system converted into a system of charter schools. How will our school district change as a result of this pandemic? There is no way to know specifics about how things will change in education, but I think we can safely assume technology will be involved with most of the changes. Here are a few thoughts that come to my mind.
Meetings - I personally have seen the benefit of virtual meetings. I have participated in at least 100 virtual meetings since March and have a high regard for them. Virtual meetings free us from having to spend time and money on travel. The smaller time commitment allows more people to participate in the meetings. I think virtual meetings will be one of the permanent changes.
Remote Learning – I personally believe that some aspect of remote learning is here to stay. There might be valid reasons for some of our students to spend part or all of their day in remote learning. Technological advances allow for quality learning experiences.
Technology Limitations – While some of our students have all the connectivity they need to fully participate in remote learning, some don’t. Some families cannot afford an internet connection and some families live in internet dead zones that cannot get an internet signal. Internet connectivity must become a national priority if we want to reap the awesome benefits of technology.
Paper – We all grew up completing assignments and turning them in using paper. Remote learning has forced us to increase our utilization of electronic assignments and tests. Students now upload their work into a learning management system and no longer have to worry about putting their names on their work.
I think it is too early to know exactly how our district will be changed as a result of this pandemic, but one thing is certain: it will.
Uncharted WatersPosted by Alan Boucher on 8/31/2020
As a school district, we are in uncharted waters. We don’t know if there are shoals or deep waters ahead. We don’t know if we will have following seas or if we will have to struggle against the ocean currents. We hope the wind will be at our backs, but I’m pretty confident we will be able to make progress even if the wind is in our face. We fear the doldrums the most.
It is hard to believe we are already in our third week of student attendance. The staff is working extremely hard to figure out this new normal. They are trying new ideas, learning about new technology, stepping out of their comfort zones and investing a huge amount of time and energy into being successful. The students have responded by keeping their face coverings on and complying with new rules and ways of doing things.
In previous years, we have been pretty independent and handled things on our own. Now we have a need to collaborate closely with our local health departments. They have been very helpful and they have invested a lot of time and energy to support our needs. Just as we trust meteorologists during inclement weather, we trust health department experts during this pandemic.
We have had 128 students who have been absent at least one day. Thankfully, none of them have tested positive for COVID. Six students have been quarantined because they had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. The rest of the students either displayed a COVID symptom or had a sibling who displayed a COVID symptom. Eighty-four students have met IDPH criteria and have returned to school. Our procedures for COVID symptoms are detailed and put into action without delay. Having a full-time nurse at every building has really paid off.
As I close, let’s remember: Tough times don’t last, tough people do. #SherrardRoars!