STARKE COUNTY — Starke County students will be heading back to school soon, some in-person and others online. The first student day for the Knox Community School Corporation is Wednesday, August 5 and Oregon Davis students will head back on Thursday, August 6. North Judson-San Pierre plans to start the school year off on Wednesday, August 12.  

With the recent issuance of mask mandates at the county and state levels, local school corporations are having to make adjustments to their re-opening plans. 

While officials are doing what they can to comply with all directives that have been set out to protect the public, they also realize that it’s unrealistic to expect students to remain masked at all times so they’ll be using what’s being referred to as a ‘common sense’ approach. 

So far, North Judson-San Pierre and Oregon-Davis school officials have sent out notices that utilize the term ‘settled and spaced’ to define when it will be permissible for a student to take their mask off. Masks will be required when students are in close contact with others, such as during passing periods, or while riding the bus. 

A similar mentality was highlighted in a Re-Entry Q&A document that was recently released by Knox school officials, “Breaks from masks will be given when appropriate and safe to do so. Since that is extremely new information to us, we are working to get more guidance about when masks must be on and when breaks can occur. We will relay that to families by the end of the week.”

If you still feel uncomfortable sending your child back into a physical classroom, all three Starke County public school corporations will be offering virtual learning to students.

Oregon-Davis and North Judson-San Pierre school officials have requested that parents indicate their intentions by Friday, July 24.

7/24 UPDATE: The Knox Community School Corporation has announced that parents interested in utilizing the online option need to contact their students' school by Tuesday, July 28. 

Here is some important information to keep in mind if you feel that virtual learning would be the best option for your family.  

Oregon-Davis School Corporation: 

The Oregon-Davis School Corporation has created a form to allow parents to sign-up for their virtual learning option: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdqU42WB0dZdR-5n5L0QCLaEcnL75ufXHXgGft-pZGNFX8U8g/viewform

OD school officials released this information about the process, “We will be offering a virtual learning option for families due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we encourage all students to attend traditional school, we understand there may be underlying reasons that makes that difficult for some students."

They added, "In addition to this form, parent's will need to complete the online registration form for the 2020-2021 school year by visiting odschools.org, then selecting Powerschool to begin. This should be completed by Friday, July 24, 2020.  Parents who register and complete this form will receive an email with more information regarding Virtual learning the week of July 27, 2020.”  

If you have any questions, please contact the Oregon-Davis School Corporation by calling 574-867-2111. 

North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation: 

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin released the following information about the corporation’s alternative plan, “North Judson-San Pierre will offer an option for families to learn from home using digital devices. If you are registered, but are choosing to have your student(s) participate in an alternative option, please email me by Friday, July 24 at azupin@njsp.k12.in.us.” She continued, 

“Include the student name, grade, and your contact information, as schools will be reaching out the week of July 27 to begin developing a learning plan for your student.”

If you have any questions, the number for the NJ-SP Administration Office is 574-896-2155

Knox Community School Corporation:  

The following details were included in a Re-Entry Q&A document that was recently distributed to Knox parents and guardians, “There will be a Redskin Online option for students where they will attend school virtually. More information about this will be coming out very soon to parents so that they can make an informed decision. If you would like to sign your student up for online learning, call either the KCSC central office or the school office.”

It goes on to say, “A full description of the KCSC Online Learning Plan will go out very soon. There will be an orientation meeting in August for families electing to do online learning. A parent will be asked to attend in person if possible, to pick up the device, and go through a tutorial with our staff on how to access the online tools we will be using.”

7/24 UPDATE: In a family letter that was released after this article was originally written, Knox School officials noted that there will be a mandatory orientation for parents choosing the online option. It will be held on Monday, August 3 at the Knox Elementary School from 4:30 p.m. until 5:15 p.m., at the Knox Middle School from 5:30 p.m. until 6:15 p.m. and at Knox High School from 6:20 p.m. until 7:15 p.m.

If you have any questions, the number for the Knox Central Office is 574-772-1601.

Starke County Public Schools’ Re-opening Plans: 

The Oregon-Davis School Corporation’s Back-to-School reopening plan can be found here: https://odschools.org/covid-reopen/file

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation’s reopening plan can be found here: https://www.njsp.k12.in.us/document-library-list-view/letters-from-superintendent/810-nj-sp-reopeing-plan/file

The Knox Community School Corporation’s K-12 Recovery Plan can be found here: https://www.knox.k12.in.us/cms/one.aspx?portalId=5095487&pageId=30627244. Specific school-level plans are also being developed and distributed.  

Please note that certain details in the School Corporations’ re-entry plans are subject to change as additional information becomes available. Certain information, specifically details about mask usage, may be outdated due to the fact these plans were developed prior to Starke County Health Department and Governor Eric Holcomb issuing face-covering mandates.

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