The Journal Gazette
Friday, August 28, 2020 1:00 am

FWCS leader expects more planned delays

EACS chief also takes part in forum

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Superintendent Mark Daniel thanked families Thursday for cooperating with this week's two-hour delay that gave Fort Wayne Community Schools teachers time for professional development as they navigate an unprecedented academic year.

Daniel, who likened the situation to building a jet while flying it, said more planned delays – and perhaps even a full in-service day – are likely.

He hopes to release details today about next week, if not for the next several.

“It has nothing to do about closing,” Daniel said during a Facebook Live forum hosted by Fort Wayne United in partnership with City Life. “It's about how do we stay open.”

The forum also featured East Allen County Schools Superintendent Marilyn Hissong. The district leaders spent about an hour fielding questions about the first few weeks of school.

Teachers are tired, Hissong said, but she also credited other employees for their contributions, including the custodians who are disinfecting buildings and bus drivers ensuring students are wearing masks.

“It does take your whole entire staff to make this work,” Hissong said.

About 17% of students at EACS are learning remotely, Hissong said, and the district has finalized staffing so elementary school teachers are instructing either virtual or in-person classrooms, not both.

FWCS hopes to do the same after today, the deadline for students to change their instructional preference, Daniel said.

The 30,000-student district aspires to offer a virtual program of excellence, he said, but educators still have much to learn about remote instruction.

That's why Wednesday's two-hour delay was important, he said.

“We're still on that steep learning curve,” Daniel said, describing FWCS teachers as trudging uphill. “The resiliency of our educators is very evident.”

Hissong said she is grateful parents are entrusting EACS with their children. She pleaded with parents to monitor their children for COVID-19 symptoms, to keep their children home when they are ill and to describe their children's symptoms when reporting them sick.

“We have to protect that school environment,” Hissong said. “We have to be so diligent right now.”

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