The Richardton-Taylor Public Schools announced on Nov. 18 that they would enact their distance learning plan following an increased number of positive cases and contact exposure within the district.
"We moved to distance education effective immediately, starting today and through Nov. 30," Kelly Peters, superintendent of Richardton-Taylor Public Schools, said. "We hope to back to face-to-face education by Tuesday, Dec. 1."
Richardton-Taylor were among the few state public school systems able to maintain face-to-face education and avoid the distance learning conundrum through quick identification and quarantine of positive student and staff. Since the outbreak, Richardton-Taylor has remained at a low enough percentage to allow for the continuation of in-school education.
Under their distance learning programming, students will maintain their respective schedules and receive a proxy face-to-face education by way of a digital platform.
"The elementary students are required to log on at a certain time and conference with their instructor and will work on their assignments and the instructor will be there if and when the students have questions," Peters said. "At the high school level, students are required to follow their established schedule. So if a student has third hour biology, they will log in during third hour and receive their instruction from the instructor and will begin working on their assignment. If they need extra help or assistance, the instructor is there for the rest of that class period."
According to Peters, the best form of education is face-to-face and when faced with the need to move digital the district wanted to maintain that connection between students and teachers.
"We had to develop alternatives to still meet our student's needs and the instructors K-12 came up with the plan and said that they still wanted to meet with the students as much as they could virtually," Peters said. "If the student logs into that third hour biology, they may go to the lesson or activity for 20 minutes like they would in a regular class while the rest of the time is a guided practice under the supervision of the instructor who may call for that assignment at the end of the hour."
For students unable to attend a class virtually as a result of illness or technical difficulties, Peters said that the classes will be recorded and provided to students.
"Let's say we have a student who is ill and cannot conference in, they can still pull up the lesson and submit the assignments as needed," Peters said.
Concerning school meals, the school released a statement on their website addressing how parents could ensure children receive meals during the distance learning period.
"Students in Richardton will pick up meals at Richardton School North Door #6 from 11:30-12:30 pm," the statement read. "Taylor Students will pick up meals at Taylor School Door #1 from 11:30 -12:30 pm."
According to Peters, the meals are free to each student that attends school.
"Please watch for future announcements and information. Communicate with instructors for your child’s learning. If you have any questions, please contact the school," the statement ended. "Thank you for your understanding."