The Denair Unified School District began distributing distance learning assignments Monday to all students to enable learning to continue even as children are required to stay at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Like all other public schools in Stanislaus County, Denair closed its four campuses March 19 because of health concerns. Initially, enough class work was sent home with students to last a month. That changed earlier this month when the district – following the lead of local and state officials – announced face-to-face classes would not resume.
Denair quickly pivoted to distance learning – a combination of online instruction led by its teachers as well as worksheets, assignments and other written materials parents and students were asked to pick up. Included in the plan were Chromebook computers loaned to families who need them as well as free wi-fi access to the Internet.
Monday would have been the first day back from spring break and the countdown to the final five weeks of school. Instead, families in cars lined up in Denair’s various parking lots to gather assignment packets.
At Denair Elementary Charter Academy, Principal Kelly Beard and her staff divided students into six alphabetized groups and then scheduled times for parents to drive by to pick up assignments intended to last the rest of the year. Beard said any packets that were not distributed Monday would be delivered to homes if not picked up by today.
Teachers will not collect or grade the work at the elementary level, Beard said, though instructors are available electronically to provide feedback and answer questions.
“We are here for students and families who need us,” Beard said.
Grades will be awarded at Denair High School, explained Principal Kara Backman. Assignments will be distributed online each Monday – or via paper packets between 10 and 11 a.m. if students haven’t checked out a Chromebook or don’t have Internet access. All work must be turned in by 3 p.m. Thursday. Staff will even take assignments to students’ homes if they don’t have a computer and can’t pick them up in person at school, Backman said.
“All work is mandatory and will be graded,” she said. “All teachers have scheduled office hours online for questions. We want to make this is convenient for parents as possible. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.”
At Denair Middle School, the situation is similar as that at the high school next door. For students with Internet access, assignments will be posted online on Monday mornings and will be graded as they are turned in. For students and families who prefer a paper packet, the DMS office will be open every Monday from 8 a.m. to noon. At that time, students can drop off completed work and pick up work for the week. Paper packets are an exact replica of what is posted on Google Classroom.
Teachers are communicating with students via Google Classroom or via email. They are reaching out to students and inviting them to virtual meeting sessions in order to keep in touch with them.
Denair Charter Academy – which provides materials for home-school parents of kindergarten through eighth-graders and independent learning for high school students – may have the least disruption in its normal schedule. Students and parents are asked to pick up new assignments and drop off homework on Fridays between 8 a.m. and noon. They are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (209) 634-0917 to schedule an appointment.
The district can be reached by phone at 632-7514, ext. 1202 or by email at email@example.com .