In a unanimous vote, the Brandon-Evansville School Board members decided that all students will be going back to school in person five days a week.
As required by the state, however, there will also be a distance learning option available. What that model is exactly has not yet been decided as Superintendent Don Peschel said it is a work in progress.
In a survey of parents conducted by the district, 75% of the respondents – 306 – said they felt comfortable sending their student back to school. The other 25%, or 102 respondents, indicated they were not comfortable sending their students back.
The decision to send students back full-time, made at a special school board meeting Monday, Aug. 10, didn’t come without some discussion.
If school board member Kent Huisman had his way, school would return to normal and there would be no distance learning.
“The person that is not sending their child back to school, the burden should be on the parent,” he said. “If you choose not to do that (send your child back), then you need to make arrangements.”
Peschel reminded the school board of the state requirements, however.
“We are required to offer a distance learning plan for those who choose not to come,” he said.
School board member Jana Anderson said that 25% of parents don’t want to send their kids back to school and that the school district has to have a plan for all families.
“The tricky part is distance learning,” she said. “We are required to provide a quality education and not what was just thrown together this spring.”
She said it didn’t really matter how each of them felt about it, but that they need to do what is right for the students.
School board chairman David Anderson said, “We can make a plan tonight and it’s going to change. Don’t get set in your ways, it’s probably going to change anyway.”
Peschel said the district still needs to collect data to help in the planning process and that the district would be reaching out to each of its families to find out for sure which students will or will not be returning to school this fall, as well as how many students will be needing transportation.
School board member Randy Bettermann thought it was a good idea as even though the survey indicated that 75% felt comfortable sending their students back, things could change.
“What people say now and what they do may look different,” he said.
Peschel said the district would be gathering that information, which will then be available by the regular school board meeting, which will take place Monday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m.