MANDATA — The Line Mountain School District will give students the option to attend classes remotely if families are uncomfortable sending them to school in person in the upcoming school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a public Zoom meeting on Tuesday evening, Superintendent Dave Campbell reviewed the district's reopening plan with school board members and answered questions from the public chat feature. Information packets will be mailed out next week. The first day of classes is Monday, Aug. 24.

"Let's do our best to protect our kids, let's get through this and let's do this together," said Campbell. 

The goal is to have students taught in person using social distancing and personal protective equipment enhancements made by the district. Students can attend remotely if they wish to at any time and will attend classes at their normal times across the internet. However, the district is also prepared to switch to a hybrid learning where some days are in person and other days are online as a second option or to switch to full online instruction only, said Campbell.

While the goal is for all students to attend classes in person, with the exception of those who opt to use online learning, the school board will decide at a public meeting on Aug. 4 at 6:30 p.m. whether to go with a hybrid learning plan for grades 6-12.

The district purchased 15,000 face masks so students can have at least three masks each to use. They must wear masks when they get on the bus and in school, unless they are properly social distanced or have a doctor's recommendation, said Campbell. 

PPE equipment has been added to all classrooms, a health and safety plan was developed to clean and sanitize the buildings, hallway traffic will be minimized and large group gatherings will be limited, Campell said.

Parents are encouraged to transport their children to school. Buses will be disinfected daily after morning routes are completed. Face coverings and assigned seating will be required on buses. Roof hatches and windows will be opened whenever possible to allow for the best ventilation. Bus changes will be suspended, said Campbell.

Campbell implored parents to be cooperative despite the different opinions on COVID-19. He asked them to screen their child at home and not send their child to school if they are sick. 

Campbell said that if parents decide to take their kids out of the district's educational plan to send them to a private charter cyber school, the district would be spending millions of dollars more. If 10 percent of the families opt to go to cyber school, that would be 110 students and cost an additional $1.4 million; if 25 percent opt, that would be 275 students and $3.4 million.

Campbell said the best option is to teach students in person so they have personal interactions with teachers and social interactions with students. 

Elementary School Principal Jeanne Menko said kindergarten teachers will host back-to-school nights in August over a three-day period.  

School Director Lauren Hackenburg thanked Campbell and everyone who worked hard to put the plan together. 

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