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Taylor speaks to “unique” 2020 school year

Kevin Boyer
Washington County News

CHIPLEY- Superintendent Joe Taylor said with the recent decision to push the school start date back to August 26 and with the pandemic constantly changing the daily routine of the schools, 2020 school year will be quite unique.

“This school years calendar is going to be very fluid,” Taylor said.

Taylor said that is something that frustrates him to know that the district and the parents and students are not getting a definite calendar that could change but says that is something out of his control, coming from the state. He said that with the COVID situation, the district gave three options to the community on preferences to go back to school, which included face-to-face instruction and online. He said based on a survey done more than fifty percent of students in schools around the district will return to face-to-face instruction in the fall.

He said the date of school’s return was a benefit to the community because it would also coincide with school sports being allowed, which he said could also change.

One thing Taylor said the schools might be doing this year is having a special period where teaching an innovative learning period where they have designated “video sessions” with students. For students in areas without internet access who do not return to students, he said the county is working on a plan for instruction that will be different than the one put in place at the end of the last year when the pandemic hit.

“We don’t want to did last year,” he said. “Where we just sent out packets. But we also wont be doing deliveries every day.”

Taylor said he is happy to know that teachers have not had any negative responses for teachers fearing going back to schools. When a poll was done to assess whether teachers were willing to return , he said ninety percent were in favor of it.

Long term Taylor said he will manage the school year almost on a day by day basis due to the COVID and the requirements the state might impose.

“That’s how fast the information is coming,” he said. “There are alot of players in this. Our goal long and short term is to provide educational services.”

Fortunately, Taylor said the district has not had to abandon plans this due to the pandemic, but said the schools are struggling with the fear and uncertainty of how things will go this year. He said he wants to be clear with the community that there is no deadline to decide whether students should return to normal face-to-face courses, if they have not yet, but will at some point create a master schedule for the “brick and mortar” form which students can opt out of if they choose.

Ultimately he believes this pandemic has caused the push to the inevitable change to education. Taylor said even when a vaccine is found, he does not the districts returning to what they were a year ago, given the options for education the state has provided following COVID. He believes this could impact the long term plans like building new schools.

Taylor said his one request for the community is “patience.” Taylor said because of the constant changes the district may have to move directions in their plan but he said he is committed to serving the community.

“We need the support of the community and our goal is to support the community.” he said.

Taylor said he wanted the teachers of the district to know how much they were appreciated and asked for their patience the school year progresses.