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MASD outlines details about picking up iPads for remote learning; virtual instruction to begin soon

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Middletown elementary school students will be able to pick up their iPads for remote learning on March 31 and April 2, depending on their grade, Middletown Area School District Superintendent Lori Suski said Thursday.

All of the students will receive enrichment and review online during the week of March 30, and instruction will resume the week of April 6, but no grades will be recorded during this week.

“Our teachers are eager to begin virtual instruction to ensure that our students continue to receive an education during this pandemic. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as this is uncharted territory for all of us,” Suski wrote in a press release.

She continued: “I am confident in our MASD teachers, support staff an administration and know that we will do whatever it takes to assist our students and their families to adjust to this new way of learning at home until the time that we are able to return to our school buildings. Meanwhile, we hope that your families are all staying healthy and well.”

Suski wrote that the enrichment and review, which includes informal activities to reinforce what the students have learned already, will be offered to all MASD students online, but is “option for work completion since elementary iPads will not be ready for distribution until March 31 and April 2.”

Formal online teaching, similar to what happens in classrooms, will start April 6. Suski said the teachers will use planned courses to teach new concepts and skills. The work is expected to be completed, but it won’t be graded.

As of right now, MASD is anticipating that students will return to their schools April 13, but that could change with any further orders from Gov. Tom Wolf. If that happens, online instruction would continue.

The plan is for the operations department to thoroughly clean and sanitize all of the buildings from April 6-8. Teachers will begin to prepare their classrooms April 9. The district will be closed for spring break April 10. Students will come back April 13.

MASD has assigned every elementary grade a specific day and time to pick up their iPads. The devices will be distributed at the student’s school.

On March 31, fifth-graders will pick up their iPads from 8 to10:30 a.m., fourth-graders from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and third grade from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

On April 2, second-graders will pick up their iPads from 8 to 10:30 a.m., first-graders from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and kindergarteners from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

If parents and guardians can’t pick up the devices during this time, they are urged to contact the principal to pick it up from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Arrangements can also be made for parents who have children in multiple grades.

All of the pickups will occur outside of the building. Parents should remain in their cars, and any walkers should stand in line 6 feet apart.

Parents should complete the iPad agreement, but Suski wrote that if parents do not have a printer, they will be able to fill it out during the pick up.

They will then drive to another station. Parents are asked to hold up a sign from the car window with their child’s last name, grade level and homeroom teacher. The iPads will come in a plastic bag containing a charger, directions for free Internet access and login information for Google Classroom.

MASD employees will be wearing protective gloves when they hand the iPads to parents and students.