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Girard parents learn about online programs

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Girard parents Brittany Waldinger, left, and Angella Cimino take part in a parent education night Thursday at Girard High School.

GIRARD — With the Girard City School District going remote learning for students for at least the first nine weeks, parents were given the opportunity Thursday to use Google Classroom and other online programs to help their children.

Parent nights have been held each evening since Tuesday to let parents learn how to use the websites.

Brittany Waldinger said she was not sure what to expect when the district announced earlier this week the first nine weeks will be all remote learning.

“I was glad they did this so we can help our kids,” she said, referring to the parent education training nights.

Diana and Tom Volpone said they would prefer their son be in school learning and seeing the teacher in person.

“That is what we prefer for him. We will see how the nine weeks goes and give it our best shot. We really have no choice,” Tom Volpone said.

Jeanna Anness said she has a child at the high school and another in sixth grade and they would prefer being in school, but she understands why the administration decided to go online.

“This is what we will have to do for now. My children would rather be in school learning with their friends, but I respect the decision that was made,” Anness said.

High School Principal Sam Caputo said the three parent nights were to help the parents get into Google Classroom and locate other information on school website.

“They can learn how to use it if they need to help their children,” he said.

Desks separated by partitions were set up in the cafetorium for parents.

Superintendent Bryan O’Hara said at Thursday’s board of education meeting that after meeting with staff and administration and to provide safest situation, it was best to have all remote learning through Nov. 6.

He said midway through the first nine-week period, officials will assess how things have gone as well as the coronavirus situation.

”About the sixth or seventh week of the nine weeks we will be looking at the situation and evaluating it,” O’Hara said.

The first day of school was pushed back to Sept. 8, with staff taking 17 hours of extensive training on online digital teaching.

To prepare the buildings for staff who will be in their classrooms teaching remotely, extensive cleaning was done.

Parents also asked the board if the high school marching band will perform at football games. O’Hara said the band will perform at home games only and not away games.

Anness said while the annual band night will not be held, a recorded performance will be made available online.

“Our kids in the band want to perform. They want to be able to march on the field at the games,” she said.

Officials are also reviewing having the concession stand open at the games, which would require workers wearing masks and social distancing.

“We will look over regulations on the concession stand,” he said.

Diana Volpone said the concession stand is a big fundraiser for the band.

Board member Vincent Ragozine said the athletes are following the rules and guidelines on social distancing as they practice and prepare for the first football game on Aug. 28.

Board President Mark Zuppo said senior recognition will be held that night, earlier in the season than normal, for fear the season may be shortened.

O’Hara said a limited number of people are allowed at the games, with tickets being given to family members of players and band members.

Caputo said under the health regulations, the stadium can hold 600 people spaced apart, which is 15 percent of the full capacity of 4,000 people.

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