Editor's Note: This story is part of The Partnership Project, a series of content written in an effort by The Daily News to follow the formal collaboration of Ball State University and Muncie Community Schools. Read more in this series here.
At the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) special board meeting Tuesday, Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, director of public education and CEO, announced the schools’ reopening plan for the upcoming semester.
MCS students will have the option to choose between a traditional weekly in-person school schedule or attending the school online.
Kwiatkowski said while she hopes online schooling will be a semester-long commitment, students can reach out if they believe the format is not working for them.
“We want to make sure our students are successful,” she said.
When in-person classes begin, MCS will not be conducting temperature checks for students. Kwiatkowski said this is because someone with COVID-19 may not show a high temperature and the checks might create large gatherings.
“If we had everyone in a group for temperature checks, we would be defeating our purpose,” she said.
Separate plans will be in place for each level of school. For elementary schools, students will be assigned certain sections of the playground during recess and other classes will not come in contact with one another. Breakfast will be eaten in the classrooms and lunch will operate on a hybrid schedule with some classes using the cafeteria and others will using their classrooms.
“We believe that it’s important for students to still get some time to have that cafeteria experience,” Kwiatkowski said.
Other areas around the school may also be used for lunch tables, she said.
The middle schools and high school will have classes on a modified block schedule. Class periods one, two, three and four will be held one day and periods four, five, six and seven the next. Period four will happen daily for teachers who have classes in both the high school and middle schools. Teachers will be given an extra 20 minutes each day before students arrive to be able to have prep time for classes. MITS busses will arrive at the middle schools at 9 a.m. to drop off students and 8 a.m. for high school.
Lockers will not be used to avoid situations with large groups of people and students will be able carry backpacks to their classes. Kwiatkowski said the plan may be different when winter arrives.
“That’s something we know we’ll have to work through, we can’t be carrying coats around all day. It will give us a chance to get started and then we’ll keep working on what that means,” she said.
Students who attend the Muncie Area Career Center (MACC) won’t experience a change in daily schedule as they are keeping a seven period schedule. Kwiatkowski said this is because other schools will still be operating on a regular schedule.
Following the discussion of the reopening plan, Jim Williams, MCS board president, spoke briefly to thank those who helped put the plan together.
“I want to extend our deep appreciation to everyone who has continued to work under extraordinary and challenging conditions to get us to this point where we are prepared to address this reopening plan,” Williams said.
The full reopening plan is available on the MCS website and the livestream of the school board meeting can be found on the MCS YouTube page.
Contact Jake Merkel with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jakemerkel4.