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HCSD issues guidelines for digital tools and learning

By Anna Coates
In a series of meetings, Hazlehurst City School District Trustees and Superintendent Dr. Cloyd Garth Jr. have rolled out guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year. With nearly 100% of students enrolled in distance learning, virtual learning, or in-person classroom sessions, members have added and revised policies and procedures to reflect the changes.
Students in 9th-12th grades are eligible to enroll in Virtual Learning, a free MDE Mississippi Virtual Public School web-based application with a broader range of coursework than available in most schools. Virtual learners work on their own and are given timely feedback on their progress.
Distance learners are online at home or another site, while teachers are actively in the classroom providing real-time instruction during the school day. In-person instruction in the classroom is available with certain exceptions.
The Instructional Program Management Plan manages the curriculum and types of learning. The Equity in Digital Learning Act created guidelines from Mississippi Department of Education for funds available for purchases of technology for virtual and distance learning, as are funds from the CARES Act. The District plans to purchase 1,678 devices.
Garth outlined criteria governing the use of these digital learning tools: users assume physical and monetary responsibility for assigned devices and technology; depreciation; fines for intentional loss or damage; availability of connectivity hotspots; optimum online platform; computer security; filtering web content at home and on campus for all devices; documentation of attendance and course work; and professional training for teachers, parents, staff and students. Board members amended policies to reflect technology and digital use.
Child Nutrition Program guidelines during the current term do not permit in-person dining. Cafeteria staff prepare “grab and go” breakfasts and lunches with appropriate safeguards. Meals are distributed through a variety of outlets throughout the district.

Read the full story in the September 16, 2020 E-Edition