BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – They may have been a week or two later than others in the Valley, but Boardman schools opened for their first day of the new year Monday.
Teachers and staff were on hand to greet students as they arrived.
One of the most noticeable changes at the school were about 5,000 plexiglass shields in every classroom and cafeteria that were literally installed over the weekend.
“They worked all day Saturday and Sunday. They finished up late Sunday afternoon, and we were ready to go,” said Superintendent Tim Saxton.
About 70% of the district’s 4,000 students are in school five days a week. Some of those classes are being held outside while the weather holds to help maintain social distancing.
Saxton says the administrators and staff spent the summer coming up with plans to ensure all students learned the same material.
“The teachers are checking to see who’s logging on and verifying that they’re logging on. They are seeing their faces to see if the kids are participating. We don’t want to lose any kids,” Saxton said.
For those learning from home, the district is passing out five days’ worth of breakfasts and lunches each week, thanks to food provided through the USDA. Administrators are ALSO using money from the federal CARES Act to purchase new equipment and software.
“We’ve ordered over 2,000 Chromebooks to work towards a one-to-one initiative. We are going to be able to achieve that definitely in grades seven through 12,” Saxton said.
While those new laptops should be in by the end of this week, Saxton says he doesn’t want the district to be caught by surprise as it was when schools closed last spring – working one day at a time.
“You win today, and the next thing you know you’ve won two days, three days, you’ve won a week, then you win a month, a grading period. Next thing, you’ve won a school year, but you have to focus on today,” Saxton said.