Dr. O'Connor

WCCS Superintendent Dr. Patricia O’Connor announced Friday that the district will be closed for four weeks due to the coronavirus.

COLUMBIA CITY — Following a slew of other cancellations, Whitley County Consolidated Schools joined numerous other school districts in northeast Indiana in closing school for the coronavirus.

“This was a very difficult decision understanding the challenges created for our families,” Superintendent Patricia O’Connor said. “Please know that because the safety and health of our students, families and school community remain our first priority, we had to make the hard decision to close. All across the state of Indiana and our entire country, these very difficult decisions are being made. We are grateful for your understanding and support.”

O’Connor announced Friday afternoon that the school would utilize e-learning days, as well as the newly instituted waiver days, to keep students out of the schools for four weeks — nearly an entire month — with classes planned to resume on April 13.

On Thursday, Governor Eric Holcomb announced several new options and guidelines for Indiana, including giving schools the opportunity to use up to 20 waived days of school closures — meaning days will not have to be added to the end of the school year.

“These additional days will allow us new options to address the pandemic,” O’Connor said in an announcement Friday.

The school district will have about three e-learning days per week and two waivers days per week during the break, excluding the already-planned spring break April 6-10.

Remote learning days include March 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30 and 31, and April 1. Waiver days are March 19, 20, 26, 27 and April 2 and 3.

During e-learning days, teachers are expected to have daily office hours of 9 a.m.-2 p.m. New assignments will be posted by 9 a.m.

Parents who do not have internet access may contact the school on Monday, and teachers will provide a alternative options. If teachers become ill, they will have back-up teaching support, O’Connor said.

In addition, all school activities are canceled until further notice, including athletics, clubs, competitions and practices.

Parents may contact their child’s school during regular school hours to arrange for pick-up of medications and other forgotten items beginning March 16.

In addition, students who are enrolled in off-site programs will not attend those classes.

The district may still be able to provide food service, and is awaiting word from the state. WCCS is expected to provide more information as it becomes available.

O’Connor encourages those with questions to contact their child’s respective school.

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