New starting, dismissal times for middle schools, high school among changes
By: Andy Klotz—
Muncie, IN – Take-home devices for all students, a new virtual learning program and no drinking from the water fountains. Those are among the changes Muncie Community Schools (MCS) has outlined in its Reopening Plan for the 2020-21 school year as it prepares to educate children in the COVID-19 era.
“We’ll be ready when school opens August 11,” MCS Director of Public Education and CEO Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski said. “We’ve been working closely with the Delaware County Health Department to develop a thorough plan that will keep people safe, and that’s what we’ve delivered.”
The 41-page Reopening Plan is available on the district’s website, muncie.k12.in.us, and a plan framework highlighting some of its most pertinent details has been shared with MCS families. Kwiatkowski also provided a personal video message explaining some of the plan’s objectives.
A sample of the plan’s most noteworthy aspects includes:
- Face coverings are strongly encouraged for all students and MCS employees, and face masks will be available for anyone who needs one.
- Signs will be posted throughout buildings to remind everyone to maintain a distance of at least six feet whenever possible.
- Buses and school buildings will have hand sanitizer available.
- With water fountains turned off, each student will be given one water bottle for personal use. Touchless water stations will be available in all schools.
- Students arriving in time to have breakfast at school will eat in their respective classrooms. For lunchtime, cafeterias will be set up for social distancing with other available space also used.
- In addition to providing all students a take-home device, MCS will also provide students with hotspots for internet connectivity if they don’t currently have it at home.
- The new virtual learning program will include assigned class times with online and offline work. An orientation will take place with tips for success.
- Students enrolled in the virtual learning program will also be able to participate in extracurricular and co-curricular activities.
- Any MCS employee or student experiencing a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher should not be in school and needs to be fever-free for at least 72 hours before returning. Self-health monitoring should take place daily.
- Plexiglas barriers will be installed for employee work stations in high-density, public areas involving regular face-to-face contact with others.
“School administrators have tried to plan for every conceivable situation, and we think they’ve done a remarkable job with this plan,” MCS School Board President James Williams said. “The virtual learning program is a great option for parents who are still unsure about sending their kids back into the classroom, and we’ll continue to adjust things as circumstances warrant.”
One adjustment already made is the schedule for middle and high school students. They will start the day 20 minutes later than last year. Middle schoolers will begin class at 9:15 a.m. while classes for high school students will start at 8:15 a.m. Dismissal times are 4 p.m. for middle schools and 3:05 p.m. for Central High School.
“Altering times for middle schools and at Central allows us to implement a four-period modified block schedule that will reduce transition time between classes and provide some teacher prep time each day,” Kwiatkowski said.
Registration for the upcoming school year is already underway. Online registration for both the traditional, in-school program and the new virtual learning program is available at EnrollinMCS.org. Students who are already registered for the in-school program, but now want to switch to the virtual program should also use this website.
The school district has also established two in-person registration events at all nine of its schools. The first one is Tuesday, July 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The second one is Thursday, July 16 from 1 to 6 p.m.
For more information, please visit muncie.k12.in.us.
About Muncie Community Schools
Serving the local community since 1855, Muncie Community Schools (MCS) educates more than 5,000 students at six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school while also managing several other educational facilities. Through its unique partnership with Ball State University, MCS strives to maximize each student’s potential so he or she can be a positive, productive member of society. Find out more about MCS or Director of Public Education and CEO Lee Ann Kwiatkowski at muncie.k12.in.us.