BOWLING GREEN—In a message to parents, Bowling Green School Superintendent Matt Frederickson said that after the Pike County superintendents met virtually with the Pike County Health Department, all Pike County schools would remain closed past May 1. Most of them had been scheduled to resume classes April 6.
Reached by phone after he dealt with the buses delivering food to students Friday morning, Frederickson said the superintendents were going to meet virtually again mid-April to re-evaluate if they could open sometime in May.
“Right now, we are extending the time frame from the April 6 date,” he said.
In the meantime, he added, “the teachers have been working with the kids to keep them learning at home.” Some have gone online to instruct their students, and for the past three weeks, packets have been sent home to students with homework.
“We’ve also been sending food everyday by bus,” he said. Families have been leaving containers or coolers out in front of their homes, where the bus drivers can place the meals.
In his note to parents, Frederickson wrote: “For the Friday before and the Monday following the weekend of April 12, we will distribute food on Thursday, April 9. Our food service workers, building secretaries, bus drivers, para-professionals and volunteers are doing a tremendous job supporting our students, and we are so thankful for their efforts.”
Those who are at the school working on essential operations are keeping their social distance, he added, by working in shifts, “so that there’s no large groups of people working together.”
The teachers were told to modify class requirement for the fourth quarter.
After the superintendents meeting in mid-April, Frederickson said they would then decide if it would be necessary to extend the school closures. Right now, all activities that fall within the current closure dates, would be rescheduled or cancelled, he said.
The decision on how they would handle senior graduation would be made by April 15.
“We still have some time,” Frederickson added. “Things could change. We’ll know more after we meet again.”
He said he’s impressed with how well everyone at the school has adapted to the situation and have been working to help students. In his message to parents, he wrote: “Teachers are still working daily to provide assistance as needed through this closure while doing the majority of their work remotely as appropriate.”
He said the teachers are doing remarkable things to keep the students engaged in their studies. Some have done videos and posted them to the school’s Facebook page.
In addition to the athletic activities being cancelled (See the story with Matt Chance on Page 1) the school play was also cancelled.
The Shakespeare Festival folks were supposed to come in and work with the students, but that is being postponed until next year, he said.
School counselors are continuing to contact students, he added, to make sure everyone is getting what they need.
Wireless access has been made available in the school campus parking lot, so students without home internet could access school information from their vehicles. Some teachers have also been using Zoom, a video conferencing software platform. It allows groups to meet and work together online.
“The kids at Frankford Elementary were delighted to see their classmates on the internet,” Frederickson said.
Frederickson said that they are also looking at other options for prom. But for sure, it would not be taking place during its regularly scheduled time.
“The teachers are becoming more comfortable using Google Class, as well,” he said. They are using the tools necessary to get “us through this situation.”
It is also important, he added, that they not overwhelm the students or the parents in light of what’s happening with COVID-19.
Frederickson wrote: “The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education commissioner recently shared that school districts will not be required to make up any 2019-2020 calendar hours or days lost due to extended closures or COVID-19. The commissioner has also cancelled statewide required assessments for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. This includes all EOC—End of Course—assessments.”
In his note to parents and students, Frederickson let them know that AP testing would take place, but “it would look different.”
He advised them to stay in touch through the school website because, “The full exam schedule, specific free-response question types that will be on each AP Exam, and additional testing details would be available in the coming days.”