CONWAY — The Kennett Middle School will go to remote learning for the next two weeks.
“It’s not because of the number of (COVID) cases. it’s more because of a staffing shortage,” Superintendent Kevin Richard said Friday afternoon. “This is personnel-related and not due to a (coronavirus cluster).”
Richard said the seventh- and eighth-graders from Albany, Conway, Eaton, Freedom and Madison should miss just five in-person school days, due to the Thanksgiving break, which starts Wednesday, along with three days the following week, setting the stage for a return to campus on Dec. 3.
Students from KMS will still receive meals each day. “We’ve worked it out with the food service department to deliver food,” Richard said, adding, “The staff has been incredible. This all happened two hours ago (1:30 p.m.), and we’ve already got plans in place.”
Students across SAU 9 were not in school Friday due to a pre-scheduled remote learning day, one of six being planned each month during this school year. Due to the scheduled remote day, students already have their Chromebook laptops to continue classes off-campus.
Richard shared a letter on the SAU 9 website that went home to families from himself and KMS Principal Rick Biche on Friday at 3:35 p.m.
“All KMS students will be using a remote model of learning from Monday, Nov. 23, through Wednesday, Dec. 2. Students who are typically in the building for instruction will return on Thursday, Dec. 3.
“This decision is based on multiple factors, including student absences, staff absences, our ability to clean and maintain our facilities, as well as the overall local conditions. Staffing of the building weighed heavily on our decision. As a result we believe the best course of action is to have KMS students access their education remotely during this period.”
The letter addressed Chromebooks and other materials.
“All students should have their Chromebooks at home. Parents are encouraged to have students use their school-issued Chromebook as it is set up for productive school work. If a student does not have a school-issued Chromebook currently at home or is in need of other materials from school, families may come to KMS to pick up those items anytime between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23. Please call the school before arriving so we can be sure to have those materials ready for you.”
“Students are expected to attend remote learning classes each day unless they are not feeling well and are too ill to attend. If a student will be absent from remote learning classes a parent/guardian is expected to contact the school to report the absence. Attendance will be recorded for each class block. To be considered present, a student must check-in, participate in scheduled activities and be completing classwork and assignments.”
Getting to class
“All classes will run on the regular school schedule and students are expected to check into each class at the start time. The bell schedule is available on welcomekms.com. Students should check both their email and Google Hangouts for messages at 7:45 a.m. each day and then check in to their advisory. Staff will include directions in the email for check-ins and accessing classes. All classwork is organized in Google Classroom and all students have access to those classes.”
Accessing free meals
“Students may also continue to access free meals. Five sets of meals will be available for pick up at Conway Elementary School on Monday, Nov. 23 between noon and 2 p.m. Three more sets of meals will be able to be picked up at Conway Elementary School on Nov. 30 also between noon and 2 p.m.
“To request meals, please complete this form. This form can also be accessed from tinyurl.com/yy5opvgz. If you are unable to pick up meals during those windows but would like them, please contact Aly McAllister at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will work with you to make other arrangements.”
“Thank you for your flexibility and cooperation during these challenging times,” Richard and Biche wrote. “It is important to remember that this temporary change to a remote instructional platform does not mean your child was exposed to COVID-19 at school.
SAU 9, which encompasses Albany, Bartlett, Chatham, Conway, Eaton, Hart’s Location and Jackson, went to remote learning on March 15 and finished out the remainder of the 2019-20 school year that way.