Supporting Our Community during COVID-19

Update: March 17, 2020 
Supporting Our Community during COVID-19 
Today, Liberty-Benton and school districts across the country are grappling with closures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 
As a community, it is vital that we take care of each other during this challenging time by following state and local directives, and by taking personal and collective steps to limit the impact of this virus. 
As a school district, we will follow all directives from Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Education because I strongly believe they have all of our best interests - our health and our safety - at the center of every decision that is made. There may be daily updates to our current situation and we will post them to our website: 
Like you, we are learning this information in real time as to how we are all to be affected and why these steps need to be taken. We are all in this together and recognize that public health is a top priority for all.
With that being said, we have developed an initial plan for our district to operate under until our governor and the Ohio Department of Education issue further directives. This includes:
•      Delivering on-line instruction using Schoology and our one-to-one technology capabilities. Paper packets for Kindergarten and K-2 Resource Room students will be distributed.
•      Providing three assignments per week per subject. Teachers will post these assignments in Schoology, and will be available to answer questions electronically regarding assignments.  
•      Closing all buildings to the public, with the exception of school offices and the Superintendent’s office, which will be open weekdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. 
•      Suspending all extra-curricular and co-curricular activities and practices.
•      Canceling all field trips and community events.
•      Suspending our NEST program.
This plan will continue to be evaluated and adjusted as necessary to ensure the safety of our students, staff and community. We are in this together and we will get through this together. 
Thank you for your ongoing support of our schools.
Mark Kowalski
Update: March 12, 2020 
Dear Liberty-Benton Community:

Liberty-Benton Schools will be in session on Friday, March 13, 2020.  Students will not be in session from Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3 for the three (3) week mandatory school closure issued by Governor DeWine.  We still have many decisions that need to be made, and we plan to communicate more information as soon as it becomes available.  In preparation for online learning, students are to bring home their devices.  We also need students to take home any personal belongings, including items stored in lockers and locker rooms.

We thank you for your patience as we work through this very unfortunate and unique situation.

Mark Kowalski
Coronavirus Is Our Future | Alanna Shaikh | TEDxSMU
March 13, 2020 
Communication from the Ohio Department of Education 
Thank you to Ohio’s school community for all you are doing and will continue to do on behalf of children. A commitment to students will drive our focus, but flexible, creative solutions will get us through this public health crisis. We pledge to work with you and will continue to share information as it becomes available. 

Coronavirus School Closure Information from the Ohio Department of Education

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Gov. Mike DeWine announced on March 12th that all Ohio schools will close beginning at the end of the school day on Monday, March 16, through Friday, April 3. This order includes all public, community and private K-12 schools in the state. Read the Governor’s complete media release here.

What’s next for Ohio’s school districts?
While schools will be closed, it is a local decision as to how, when and the degree to which learning will continue. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria addresses several questions, shares information about flexibility in federal and state requirements and discusses next steps in this new video.

Finding solutions and providing answers to districts
Now that we know schools will be closed, the Ohio Department of Education can begin to provide clarity on answers related to the minimum hours requirement, accountability issues, testing, special education requirements, ensuring students can get meals and many others.

The U.S. Department of Education issued this release today regarding K-12 flexibilities, student privacy and educating students with disabilities during school closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved our waiver request so that schools may continue to provide meals at non-congregate sites.

Moving forward together
As State Superintendent DeMaria indicated in his media statement, “We are especially grateful to schools that have proactively developed plans to keep learning going even if school buildings aren’t open. There is a lot of momentum in Ohio’s schools right now and we would hate to see that momentum stalled, although we understand that today’s announcement does mean there will be disruptions.”

Thank you and stay tuned


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