Seymour schools going virtual after Thanksgiving


Seymour Community School Corp. will move to virtual instruction for all grades — kindergarten through 12th grade — after Thanksgiving due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That means all students will work online from home until further notice, said Superintendent Brandon Harpe.

The district is on Thanksgiving break from Nov. 23 to 27, and virtual learning will begin Nov. 30. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will have an eLearning day Nov. 30 and begin virtual learning Dec. 1.

Harpe announced the change this morning.

Live virtual instruction will be Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and Wednesdays will be an eLearning day, where students log on and complete assignments on their own time.

Attendance will be taken daily, and students are to log onto Google Classroom to follow their class schedules.

Free curbside meals will be available for pickup at the schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“Like schools and universities around our state and nation who have moved to all virtual instruction, we realize that this is not a convenient situation for many of our families,” Harpe said. “However, the safety of our students and staff is paramount and remains our priority.”

The decision was based on the increasing number of staff and students who are being placed on quarantine due to exposure to the virus.

“We are experiencing extreme staff shortages due to contact tracing and quarantining,” Harpe said.

As of Wednesday, the corporation had 50 employees in quarantine and another 18 absent for non-COVID reasons, Harpe said.

“We have been as high as 92 absences on a single day, and our substitute employee pool is at an all-time low,” he said.

The plan right now is for schools to return to their current state, a hybrid schedule for grades 6 through 12 and in-person or virtual for kindergarten through fifth grade, on Dec. 7.

“The week of Nov. 30 will give us two full weeks with students out of the building, and our hope is that we see improved conditions during that time,” Harpe said. “Our operational situation will be evaluated on a weekly basis, and a decision on whether we can return to our current model will be announced Dec. 3, if not sooner.”

The current hybrid schedule has students in grades 6 through 12 attending school in person two days a week, virtual learning two days a week and eLearning one day.

“Our hope is to have students back for in-person instruction as soon as possible,” Harpe said.

Each of the schools will provide further details of their plans through their websites.

Internet access is available in any of the school parking lots. Any family without access to Wi-Fi should contact their child’s school principal to discuss options.

Harpe advised the community to remain vigilant when it comes to wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distance, especially during family gatherings over Thanksgiving.

“We urge all of our families to follow established health protocol in order to help our community heal and rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

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