The impacts of COVID-19 on education were front and center during Thursday’s regular meeting of the Prairie Central Board of Education held online via Zoom.
Superintendent Paula Crane discussed distance learning and what the district is doing for the students. Activities depend on grade level and a certain number of minutes are expected each day for the different grades. A large number of students are participating in the learning at home but some aren’t.
“I think we are doing very well compared to a lot of other districts,” Crane told board members.
The state says the district cannot do anything that would hurt a student’s grade. Most high school teachers will follow a 1-4 grade scale and students will receive a “P” for pass or “I” for incomplete.
“No kid will fail but they might have to re-take (a course),” explained high school teacher Caren Appel.
Crane said they have already picked their power standards so kids can go on to the next level, although she admits it will take a lot of effort to get everyone caught back up at this point.
“It’s got to be hard,” said board member Brian Plenert.
Board President Mark Slagel commended the teachers for giving it their best effort.
The board agreed to partner with Maxwire to provide Internet service to families that need it. The company is ready to proceed with installation at a low-income home as a pilot project.
“They’re providing the hardware and the means to get it there but they are using our bandwidth,” Crane noted.
This does not cost the district anything and it could be beneficial to have this in place for the future. The district is searching for additional families who may be in need of this.