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School system provides clarification on digital learning

By: Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

 Following questions from the parents of students on just what digital learning would entail, Carter County Schools have provided some clarification on the online requirements for classes and how often students would need to access the internet. They wanted to make it clear to parents that their children would not be expected to spend the entire school day online. 

Last week the school system issued a statement noting that school would begin on August 26 as originally planned, but with “virtual classes” at least through September 25 because of new recommendations from Governor Andy Beshear. The statement also noted that computers would be provided to any students who needed them for accessing online content. 

“Families will be contacted soon regarding the process for picking up Chromebooks for their children and how children will access lessons and communicate with their teacher(s),” the statement read. It also noted that school parking lots would be treated as internet “hotspots” so families without adequate internet access could still access their lessons. 

After releasing that statement the school system issued a clarification explaining that students would not need to be online for the entirety of their school day, but would only need to log-on in order to download lessons and upload completed work. 

“After making the announcement about the start of school, there were several questions regarding internet service that we want to answer,” Administrative Assistant and Community Education Director Pam Kouns wrote in an email. 

After explaining that teachers are “working hard to prepare online lessons,” Kouns explained that all children would have the opportunity to checkout a computer device, such as a Chromebook. She also clarified the online requirements for classes. 

“The only time you will need internet service is to download assignments and to submit completed work,” she wrote. “This is just like picking up a packet and returning it to the school.” 

This news was expected to come as a relief for parents who worried they might need to spend the entire school day in the parking lot while their children attended classes online in real time. Kouns further explained that internet access was “not necessary for students to complete assignments.” 

“Lessons will consist of videos and assignments that students will complete at their own pace,” she explained. 

If students or their parents had any questions about their lessons, she said, teachers could be contacted at their individual schools to answer those questions. 

“Teachers are recording videos of lessons,” she added. “They will post a week’s work at a time. Students will submit work every Friday and download the following week’s assignments. Teachers will be at their schools during the day for questions, and schools are working out evening hours for teachers to be avaialable as well.” 

She said the district would also, “provide easy to follow directions on how to download and submit work,” and that each parent would be contacted by their child’s school with instructions for submitting work and checking out a computer device. 

She further noted that although the district currently expects in-person classes to resume in late September, families would have the option to “continue virtual instruction” if they deemed it to be best for their children. She said families could also still opt for a combination of in-person classes and virtual instruction if that worked better for them. 

Kouns said the district appreciated families’ patience as the district “prepare(s) to start a very interesting school year!” 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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