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Students prepare for another unique school year in Mt. Vernon

Posted at 1:09 PM, Aug 03, 2021

MT. VERNON — "The kids are excited to be back with their friends and back in a normal atmosphere this year,” said Cindy Cobb.

Cobb has two children in the Mt. Vernon School Corporation.

“I have a son that’s in 7th grade and a daughter that goes to mt comfort that’s in fourth grade,” said Cobb.

She told me she’s been impressed with how the district handled COVID protocols last year.

“I think they did a great job as far as keeping kids in the classroom as much as they could last year,” said Cobb.

There will be no virtual option for kindergarten through 8th grade. Superintendent Dr. Jack Parker said they are committing to one semester of virtual learning for high schoolers.

This year some of the in-building protocols at MVCSC will be relaxed.

“With our high vaccination rate in our area of the county we feel we can back down some of our procedures just a little bit,” said Dr. Parker.

This year they are using a tiered system. They will start the year out completely open, encouraging unvaccinated students and staff to wear masks. If the absentee rate gets to 12% between students and staff at one building they will increase cleaning procedures. If the rate gets to 14% they will begin fogging buildings, buses and encourage everyone to wear masks.

At a 16% absentee rate, they will require masks and require cleaning after all activities.

At 20% they will work with the Hancock County Health Department to decide on a possible closure.

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“We are paying very close attention to the guidance we received from our Hancock Health department as well as the state health department and we got some new data just last week in the week before and we may get some new data next week that will have to make a tweak so we pay attention to that all the time,” said Dr. Parker.

Dr. Parker says the name of the game again this year is patience.

“Patience and flexibility understanding that we may have to change if the situation changes,” said Dr. Parker.

On top of these procedures, Mt. Vernon has also added 12 specialists to their staff.

The role of the specialist is to help teachers and students stay on track or get back on track.

They specialize in math and reading and will provide extra support to teachers and students where needed.

Assistant Director of Curriculum Stacy Muffler said she’s excited about the new initiative at the school.

“We've had some specialists in the buildings and previous years we've definitely seen a decrease in the rate of learning through COVID obviously so this is just one way that we are trying to increase support for our students and teachers and provide some extra help and in those areas,” said Muffler.

Muffler said teachers are in constant communication with families and working with them to see how they can give students who need extra help.