Last night (7.22), the Whitewater Unified School District held a virtual meeting to describe a fall instructional proposal to be presented to the district’s school board on 7.27.20. The meeting was interrupted, and so the district published today (7.23) a video describing the proposal. Embedded above is that video presentation. (There was an earlier, recorded parent focus group on 7.8.20, about which I have posted. See Whitewater Schools’ Community Focus Group, 7.8.20)
Generally, the proposal calls for primarily virtual instruction from September 1 to 29, with limited face-to-face instruction (including orientation before the school year begins). (Video, beginning at 9:10.) There would be re-evaluation thereafter, with the hope of increasing face-to-face instruction time. All students would be provided during this time a Chromebook model varying by grade level, with technology support.
There are choices before the board about food service, with three options running from in-classroom meals, and meals for virtual learners. (Video, 20:40.)
There’s an effort – still in planning – for after-school childcare options. (Video, 24:10.)
A tiered athletic plan has begun already, one that extends into the period of this proposal. (Video 30:55.)
A few remarks —
. 1. Uncertainty Calls for Caution. It’s an understatement to say that these are difficult times, and a public health threat is made worse for Whitewater by existing economic problems. This small community has, among its residents, different populations, with different daily occupations, living close to each other. For the community to fare well during a pandemic, a cautious approach is justified. It’s reason, not fear, that recommends this approach. A rushed return would not evince strength, but instead weakness.
. 2. Provison of Food. Which food-service model of the three the district recommends matters less than that adequate nutrition is issued in safe condition. It’s also necessary, as the plan provides, that virtual learners receive their school meals. That accomplishment alone would be a gain to the community — public schools in Whitewater play a critical role in assuring children are properly fed.
3. The School Board. While a cautious approach (like this one) is rational, whether this school board will embrace that approach in the face of pressure is a bet a sensible person would be reluctant to wager. These board members have not had to make a decision this important during their tenures.
4. Open Government. It’s regrettable that the community presentation last night was interrupted, but the best approach is always to review a video (or document) fully oneself. The recording from today gives residents an opportunity to do so.