On Thursday, the Van Wert Board of Education discussed plans for reopening schools in August. The Lincolnview Board of Education also met on Thursday. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
On Thursday, the Van Wert Board of Education discussed plans for reopening schools in August. The Lincolnview Board of Education also met on Thursday. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT COUNTY – The Educational Boards of Van Wert City Schools and Lincolnview Local Schools met in special meetings on Thursday to approve remote learning plans and district calendar changes.

Both schools, as well as Crestview Local Schools, will be pushing their start dates back to Monday, Aug. 24. The idea is to use the week before (the week of Aug. 17) for personal development days for staff.

Both Van Wert and Lincolnview were originally set to begin school Aug. 19, using the first two days of the week as professional development days. With the coronavirus pandemic, both Superintendent Mark Bagley (Van Wert) and Superintendent Jeff Snyder (Lincolnview) said that the extra professional development days will be of great use to the staff.

“We feel like we need more time to go over all of the protocols and safety [measures],” said Bagley. “The week of Aug. 17 we will do five days of professional development, and then the whole county will start school on Aug. 24.”

Bagley said that a lot of training will be needed to get all of the protocols in place using the guidance they have so they can get students back in buildings successfully.

Snyder echoed Bagley’s comments.

“We’re going to have a lot of planning to start the school year out, so with that, we’re going to have designated times to walk all of our teachers into everything new that we’re going to institute this year that we’ve never done,” said Snyder. “A lot of it is planning, preparation, and all the things that go with that to start the school year.”

The delayed start to the school year will not affect each district’s end date.

While no one from the public was present during Van Wert’s meeting, over a dozen members of the Lincolnview community attended the board of education meeting to voice their opinions on the district requiring masks. Questions, comments, and opinions were heard by the board and administration.

Last week, the county-wide Reopening Plan Agreement 2020-2021 was announced. All county schools agreed to a plan that will strongly recommend that students in preschool through grade 2 wear face coverings and will require students in grades 3-12 to wear face coverings during the school day unless the student has a health condition or disability documented by a licensed healthcare professional that would be exacerbated by wearing a face covering.

Students will be able to remove face coverings during the school day to participate in gym, recess or after-school to actively participate in sports as well as when they are actively engaged in eating or drinking during the school day or in after-school sports.

Plans for remote learning is similar for each school throughout the county. Parents will be able to choose a remote learning option for their students if they do not feel comfortable sending their child to school. If a remote learning plan is chosen and is not working out, each district will be flexible with parents to put the student back in the classroom, and vice versa. A plan has also been put in place in case the entire school district would have to move to a remote-only option.

Specific plans for Van Wert and Lincolnview were posted Friday on their websites.