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COVID READY: Oelwein elementary schools prepare students for remote learning if virus situation worsens

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OELWEIN, Iowa (KWWL) - Oelwein Community School District elementary schools are keeping students home Friday to practice virtual learning.

The district schools are doing this in order to prepare the students for if the situation arises that schools will shut down again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we shut down in the spring, it was a mad scramble. And now we have time to prepare," OCSD Elementary School Principal Justin McGuinness said. "You never know what problems might pop up when you have to do a major shift all of a sudden. And so it’s always great to know what kind of bumps may be in the road so you can problem-solve them now rather than having to do it in the moment.”

Many students are currently working from home, but about 50% of the elementary students attend in-person learning at the schools.

Students were sent home Thursday with laptops, iPads, and worksheets so they were prepared to do schoolwork from home on Friday.

The teachers have been communicating with parents about this virtual learning practice day throughout the week, so that they were expecting their children to work from home.

“It will be good to see what they can do at home on their own for a virtual day in case we use it in the winter as a snow day or if we do get shut down again," second grade teacher Trixie Reed said.

This day will allow the children who are currently attending in-person learning to experience what some of their other classmates already have experience with.

“I feel very comfortable and confident that we are still providing a good quality educational experience to our students whether it’s in person or virtually,” McGuinness said.

Some teachers will even be testing out live video sessions with their student via Zoom, as well as testing out other programs for the students tog et comfortable.

In a normal school year at Oelwein Community School District elementary schools, the students would attend class in only two buildings. This year, four buildings are being used in order to have every student socially distant, to create safe work environments.

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Diego Hernandez

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