BACK TO LEARNING: Marlow, Fletcher schools prepare to re-open

BACK TO LEARNING: Marlow, Fletcher schools prepare to re-open

MARLOW, Okla. (TNN) - We’re just a few weeks away from heading back to learning and school districts across the area are putting the finishing touches on their initial re-opening plans.

At Marlow Public Schools, there are three separate plans in place. One for students who want to attend class in person, another for those who prefer distance learning, and the last is for students who get sick and have to quarantine.

“I’ve been doing this 34 years, I’ve never run a virtual school. I didn’t think I’d ever run a virtual school but it looks like I’m fixing to learn. The one thing I can assure you, week 2 is going to be better than week 1, week 3 is going to be better than week 2. We’re going to get this thing down and we’re going to educate the kids of Marlow and this community,” said Marlow Superintendent George Coffman.

Coffman said they are also implementing a virtual day off once a month.

Staff will use the time to ensure everything is running properly for virtual learning. He said they have been working all summer to address several areas of concern, such as social distancing in common areas, with an extra focus on the youngest students.

“What’s a concern for me is Pre-k through third, which for me is the critical age of kids education. If we’ve got kids at that age and they love school, they’ll love school the rest of their lives. We’re going to try to make sure we do the very best job with those lower grade kids and try to meet their needs because teaching phonics is not something you can always do on a virtual setting and still get it,” Coffman said.

Up the road at Fletcher Public Schools, Superintendent Shane Gilbreath said they’ve spent the summer making several changes on their campus to make sure it’s as safe as possible when students return.”

“We just put in water fountains that are touchless bottle fillers, so they don’t have to drink out of the bubbler. We put up shields for secretaries and our serving line in the cafeteria. We’re ordering supplies left and right for sanitizing, for masks, for thermometers. Just trying to prepare,” Gilbreath said.

They also have plans for students both on and off-campus. Students attending in person will have their temperatures taken twice each day, once in the morning and once after lunch. In addition, guests won’t be allowed past the office unless there’s an emergency. Gilbreath said they’re trying to prepare for any problems they could run into next month, but one of his biggest concerns is a lack of space.

“Depending on who shows up, if we don’t have that many go virtual, there’s no way we can go six feet apart. We can spread them apart as much as possible in a room, we only have one cafeteria for the whole district. We’re going to spread them apart as much as we can in there and in PE, on the playground, but space is an issue,” Gilbreath said.

Both Marlow and Fletcher Public Schools will require students who ride the bus to wear a mask. They both are recommending masks be worn on campus as well, but for the time being, they will not be a requirement.

You can find Marlow’s full back to school plan here.

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