Butts prepares for post spring break options

Superintendent says May 1 return is in question


Area 31 assistant principal Tim Pratt inventories medical supplies before delivering them to IU West Hospital.

Staff report

As the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township enters its second week of spring break, superintendent Dr. Jeff Butts is pleased with the response from the district and its leaders during this coronavirus health crisis.

“I am very proud of the overwhelming response we have seen from the students, staff and community,” Butts said. “With very little notice, everyone has adapted to our current ‘normal’ and I am looking forward to returning from spring break.”

That return is currently scheduled for April 7 with teachers reporting to their respective buildings. Remote learning kicks in on April 8 with remote learning days two or three days a week.

In the absence of being in school, township leaders have responded by providing lunches three days a week through spring break. Those lunches will continue this week with serving from 10 a.m. to noon at Stout Field, Bridgeport and Chapelwood elementary schools on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

In addition, Butts and Area 31 assistant principal Tim Pratt spent time last week collecting medical supplies from the career center and delivering them to IU West Hospital.

The collective efforts by the township administrative team have not got unnoticed by local media with both the lunch service and hospital supplies being mentioned on local television news.

When it comes to returning to remote learning, Butts clearly recognizes there are challenges.

“We know some of our students are experiencing a variety of challenges while learning at home and we continue to develop plans that will address these challenges,” Butts said. “We are currently building this plan in-flight and our goal is to have it completed before it lands.”

The new ‘normal’ is something Butts is very concerned with.

“First, in order for us to flatten the curve on confirmed cases, we must all do our part to socially distance ourselves from others, shelter-in-place, and continue the recommended precautionary practices,” Butts said.

“That being said, it is important that we stay connected with loved ones, teachers, classmates, and our neighbors through phone calls, video chats, letters, or other forms of communications.”
As our township is less than 10 days from re-starting remote learning, Butts recognizes it is not a perfect solution to our current health crisis and education.
“Be sure to engage with your teachers every day so you can stay current on the lessons being taught, the assignments being given, and the projects that are still due,” Butts offered as advice to students. “Whenever this ends, we want to make sure that all of our students are able to complete their classes and credits so they can advance to the next grade level or graduate on time.”
State health officials have predicted this weekend that our state is two weeks away from the peak of this coronavirus outbreak. That doesn’t give Butts a lot of confidence that students will return to classrooms the first week of May.
Recently, Dr. (state health commissioner Kristina) Box predicted that we would hit the peak in mid to late April,” Butts said. “The optimist in me hopes we are able to return before the end of the year.  However, the realist in me is more skeptical and I believe we will receive additional orders to remain closed beyond May 1.  We are making plans for both scenarios.”