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Masks required for all FWCS students; families can choose remote learning

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Dr. Mark Daniel (FWCS superintendent)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - The state's largest school district unveiled its back-to-school plan -- one that offers parents the option of remote learning, while most students will return to in-person classes.

The district has dubbed the project "Return to Learn."

Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Mark Daniel announced Wednesday that students in pre-K through 5th grade will attend school on a daily basis, but parents will have the option of choosing remote learning for their child.

Face coverings will be required for all students. FWCS will be supplying new masks for students each day to minimize infection.

As for secondary students, in grades 6-12, parents will have a choice of blended learning.

Daniel said students will be divided up into groups, and certain groups will attend in-person classes on a Monday-Thursday format, while Group B will attend the other days.

Teachers will be delivering instruction remotely as well.

High school students will have also the opportunity to attend classes entirely remotely.

"This is currently the plan, and we know there will be adjustments," new FWCS Superintendent Mark Daniel said. "I'll tell you its going to take an extreme amount of collaboration and cooperation with our building-level administrators and with our teachers and our teacher leaders."

Daniel said the district anticipates a significant number of students will learn from home, which will help with the effort to socially distance on campus.

"I think it is absolutely critical we allow parents to have choice and we are presenting that as a viable alternative to being in the building every day."

- Mark Daniel

FWCS has secured laptops and iPads, and officials have developed plans to provide connectivity so that all families will be able to connect to the internet for school work.

Daniel said they are enhancing cleaning not only after school, but throughout the day.

Lunch for students will now be delivered to classrooms and other steps will be taken to minimize mass interaction among children and staff.

Desks will be positioned to face forward and students who ride the bus will also wear masks. They will be assigned seating -- using every other available seat on the vehicle.

Daniel said a key to the success of the plan would be strict adherence to a "stay home" guideline for any staff member or student showing symptoms of illness.

Students will begin the school year as scheduled, on Aug. 10.

The FWCS announcement follows the release earlier this week of back-to-school plans for Northwest Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools.

Both of those school systems offered families an option for remote learning, as well.

Parents of Fort Wayne Community Schools students are encouraged to register their children for the 2020-21 school year online at fwcs.info/MyFWCS by noon Friday, July 17.

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Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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