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Ottumwa Students learn virtually, amid concerns of staff and student infection

With rising COVID numbers and concerns about limited staff, Ottumwa Schools close on Monday and...
With rising COVID numbers and concerns about limited staff, Ottumwa Schools close on Monday and Tuesday as their students learn virtually.(KYOU)
Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 10:29 PM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Students have gone virtual on Monday and Tuesday while their schools are cleaned.

A major part of this decision was to limit staff absences because of quarantine.

Evans’ Principal, Aaron Ruff, says coming to work each day without knowing which teachers would be absent...

“It’s always an adventure every morning when you get here and see who’s gone and see what’s going on…”

Evans had to shut down on the 12th and 13th for the same reason, and it’s one of the Superintendent’s biggest deciding factors in shutting schools down.

So teachers generally stayed out of school too these last two days, holding virtual office hours to be available to students.

Meanwhile, middle school students start their day with advisory, before hopping onto the virtual classroom, where they recieve instructions, and teachers post assignments. The rest of the day is filled with completing those assignments while the teachers are on call to answer any questions.

Elementary is much of the same. Meeting with teachers, who would guide them into independent assignments.

Preschool, however, is a larger challenge. Pickwick Principal and Director of Elementary Education Lonna Anderson says preschool teachers have pre-recorded four weeks of lesson with interactive and hands on activities.

“They’re sending these lessons out to the parents and we’re asking out parents to take pictures of their students doing these activities.”

And for kids who can’t stay home alone, the district provided a space for them to work, supervised and wearing masks.

Tomorrow begins students’ Thanksgiving Breaks, and a return to school on Monday, the 31st.

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