GOSHEN — Faced with disrupted schedules and ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19, Goshen Community Schools has elected to cancel summer school for students in grades K-6 this year.
Alan Metcalfe, assistant superintendent in charge of elementary education for GCS, informed Goshen school board members of the decision during their meeting Monday evening.
According to Metcalfe, the school corporation routinely conducts summer school for grades K-12 in June. However, due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus and a desire to conduct elementary summer school in person, rather than virtually, school leaders ultimately decided to postpone making a decision on this year’s elementary summer school offering until more guidance had been received from the Indiana Department of Education and the Elkhart County Health Department.
“We had been holding on to hope that we would be able to have in-person summer school the last two weeks of July,” Metcalfe told the board. “But once school had let out, and once summer school had started virtually for the secondary grades, we started looking at what would be required to be ready by the third week of July for that. Based on the guidelines and the planning that will be required to prepare our buildings, staff, and families for reopening this fall, holding summer school for the elementary is just not feasible this summer. Hopefully, GCS will resume the normal summer schedules next year.”
Upon learning of the decision to cancel, board president Bradd Weddell questioned what the school corporation plans to do in place of summer school for those students who need the extra instruction that would have been provided through the summer school offering.
“Some of our planning for next year does have a little bit more of built in intervention time for students. So, hopefully we’ll be able to reach those students,” Metcalfe said in response. “The other worry when talking to principals and teachers was the students who probably needed it have not really been taking part in the virtual piece, and so trying to ensure that they were here for two weeks could be difficult. That first week of summer school usually is just tracking everybody down, making sure everybody knows, and then usually the second week is when it really kicks up. And so, at this point, we just did not feel it was feasible to get it all done in time.”
Following Metcalfe’s update, GCS Deputy Superintendent Steve Hope acknowledged that with all the disruptions the school corporation has endured due to COVID-19, school staff are well aware they’ll need to work extra hard during the coming school year to try and help make up some of those educational gaps.
“We know we’re going to have some large gaps to fill when we come back to school next year, and we’re building some remediation time in, and especially for the elementary students,” he said of the situation.
In other business, board members:
• Approved a $196,000 contract with Weigand Construction to handle interior water damage repairs at Goshen Middle School resulting from a major hail storm that swept through the city in early June of 2019. The cost of the project will be covered by insurance.
• Approved a $369,564 contract with Niblock Excavating and Asphalt for upcoming paving improvement projects at Model and Chandler elementary schools.