Jefferson distance learning days to continue

The Jefferson County school system plans to continue doing distance learning days in November and these days help the school system in a variety of ways, said Shane Johnston, director of schools for Jefferson County.

He said there are three reasons behind the days: Give teachers a chance to catch up, give parents and students a chance to get used to distance learning and, finally, a way to be ready in case schools need to close because of COVID-19.

“We also handle it as a dress rehearsal in the event of a school building closure,” he said.

The school system has several days planned throughout the month for distance learning days. Pre-K through 12th grade will distance learn on Nov. 2 and also Nov. 23 and Nov. 24. Jefferson County High School students will distance learn on Nov. 4 and Nov. 18.

The distance learning days is a continuation of two previous days the school system had in August and September, Johnston said.

The days have proved essential for staff as it gives teachers more hands on training with distance learning, Johnston said. It also gives them a chance to plan.

During those days, students can either download lesson plans from the schools or download lessons from the school website.

Another added benefit is that it also allows families to get a feel for how to operate under a digital-only platform.

“We’re using it as a teaching time, even for the parents,” Johnston said.

This will be the first month where elementary students will participate in distance learning training, so this will give the school system an idea on how prepared these students are in handling distance learning.

Right now, the school system is doing fine. This week there were a total of 15 active cases, including staff members, out of a student body of 8,500, Johnston said.

But, in case there is an uptick due to the oncoming flu season, it is good to be prepared, Johnston said.

“It’s an instructional day for everyone,” he said.