Preliminary results of a survey by Grand Forks Public Schools show that about 18% of parents want to keep their students at home for at least a portion of the school year, Superintendent Terry Brenner told the Grand Forks School Board at its meeting Monday, Aug. 10.
The parent survey was open through 11:59 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10.
A staff survey, which closed Sunday, Aug. 9, revealed that a small number of teachers, who have medical considerations, are concerned about returning to in-person teaching.
“Some wish to teach remotely,” Brenner said.
He and other administrators are looking at a plan to link those teachers with students who wish to pursue remote education. As a rough estimate, Brenner said, an average number of about 75 to 80 students at each grade favor distance learning.
“We’re going to have to lean on teachers who haven’t signed up to teach remotely but are willing to help out, if needed,” Brenner said.
This is the second survey conducted by the school district and was initiated to gather parental input amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The school district is asking parents to commit to either in-person or distance learning for at least the first trimester of the school year, in order to best manage its staffing needs, Brenner said. The district will consider extraordinary circumstances that may arise.
Brenner also announced that the school district intends to add more support staff, on the level of a paraprofessional, who will manage a “quarantine room” at each school, where students who exhibit COVID or similar symptoms can be isolated. Those staff members will also help the schools with contact tracing if a student does test positive for COVID, he said.
The extra staff members are necessary because nurses do not spend their entire day at a specific school, but move to different schools throughout the day, he said.
Brenner also plans to ask all district staff members to not travel out of state within two weeks before the start of school, and will be encouraging parents to follow the same request.
In other action, the school board approved the Athletics Smart Reopening Plan, which outlines protocols for sports and arts-related activities.
Fans will be permitted to attend athletic events on a ticketed basis, and attendance will be limited to 50% of a facility’s capacity.