Lincoln Pius X, Lincoln Lutheran outline plans for fall learning

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 7:45 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Classrooms across Nebraska and Lincoln will look different this year. Lincoln Public Schools will announce its plan next Tuesday, but some private schools already have their plans in place. Both Lincoln Pius X and Lincoln Lutheran have decided their plan based on the COVID-19 risk dial. Lincoln Pius X principal Tom Korta said his focus has been keeping school in-person for the fall.

“We’ve made a commitment that all students and staff will be wearing masks,” Korta said, “But that will allow us to have 100 percent in-person learning.” The only way Lincoln Pius would go all online is if the COVID-19 risk dial reaches the red area. All students and staff will also be required to wear a facemask and continually sanitize their hands.

“Once you have masks on,” Korta said, “It really opens up the playbook in terms of; social distancing becomes a little less of a concern.”

Although this is the current plan, Korta said some teachers don’t feel fully comfortable with it, but haven’t said they will not participate.

“Some parents who have responded don’t think masks are necessary and they disagree with our decision,” Korta said. Although everyone may not agree, Korta said he’d rather be safe than sorry.

It’s a similar feeling for folks over at Lincoln Lutheran, but with a little twist. The executive director of Lincoln Lutheran Scott Ernstmeyer said their plan is more dependent on the risk dial.

“A school that’s somewhat modified with limited attendance. We may have some scenarios where kids have to be at home for quarantine,” Ernstmeyer said.

Officials at the school say if the risk dial is in the green, it will be a normal school schedule. The yellow indicates students being at school, but wearing masks and sanitizing hands. Orange indicates mixed learning of in-person and online, and red will be all online.

“We slow-played the learning process,” Ernstmeyer said, “So we would have as much information as possible before we pick a lane with what we’re doing this fall.” If the plan resorts to a mix of online and in-person learning, Lincoln Lutheran has bought swivel cameras that allow for students to see teachers at home. Lincoln Lutheran principal Matt Heibel said this will allow them to adapt quickly to the times.

“We’re going to put a big screen TV in every classroom so the students at home using Zoom can be in the classroom,” Heibel said, “The teacher in the classroom can see those students at home.”

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