By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
It’s far from business as usual but, 3,000 students in the Crook County School District resumed classes Wednesday, remotely.
Mobile wi-fi hotspots in the form of familiar yellow school buses, were deployed to six remote locations around the county today, making state-certified lessons available to more students.
A new $30,000 grant from Facebook will allow the district to outfit its entire fleet with wi-fi routers.
“We are out here providing wi-fi for the kids who don’t have it at home or they are too far out, they can’t pick it up. So the parents can drive up here, park around the bus within 100 feet and pickup the school wi-fi to do their work,” said Connie Beachem, a Crook County School District bus driver.
Earlier this week, students who didn’t already have school-supplied laptops were invited to drive by their schools and pick up Chromebooks made available through a $50,000 grant from Facebook.
Paper packets of work are also available for families to pick up at the same time as free lunches.
“We just had lunches delivered and we have our classroom materials set up so that kids who have done their homework can bring it and turn it in as well as pick up new homework to do from this Wednesday to next Wednesday,” said Tabatha Willis, Powell Butte Charter School educational assistant.
Wednesday through Friday are considered exploratory time for students and families to become familiar with the “Learning at Home” program, and connect with their teachers.
“We will be giving grades and we will be doing assessments. Parents will get a report card and we’ll be communicating with parents how their child is doing through this new learning at-home system,” said Superintendent Sara Johnson.
Joel Hoff, assistant superintendent acknowledged “each kid has a different set of needs, different learning styles so we are really trying to tailor it and provide tools and resources that parents can use to make it work for their kid.”
The district ays it views the situation as an incredible learning opportunity.
Most other school districts will launch distance learning programs by April 13.