PORTER — Discovery Charter School in Porter is announcing plans to reopen virtually this school year with weekly opportunities for onsite experiences.
Discovery is the latest in a growing number of Indiana schools opting to begin their school year with virtual instruction.
Under Discovery's plan, teachers will lead students through daily live instruction for the first nine weeks of the school year.
Lessons delivered by Discovery Charter School teachers will be offered in a live setting, but will be recorded so families can access the instruction at a later time.
All students at the K-8 charter school will have scheduled virtual small group check-ins and are invited to participate in weekly onsite activities, such as hikes on the school's trail, outdoor art class and library book exchanges.
Discovery Superintendent Ernesto Martinez said these in-person experiences will be staggered throughout the week by grade level to maintain distance between students.
Recommended guidance from local health officials, such as the use of personal protective equipment, will be followed.
Students may opt out of the in-person opportunities and those showing signs of illness are encouraged to stay home.
"We wanted to focus on the whole child and expand beyond academics," Principal Pamela Moore said. "This is important to relationship building."
Discovery charter school leaders say they will evaluate community coronavirus data in the time leading up to students' second quarter for further decision making on a possible return to in-person instruction.
When making the decision to begin virtually, Martinez said school leaders took into consideration its student population is comprised of families living across Northwest Indiana communities, including in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
Discovery families were informed of the virtual instruction plan after a Monday night school board meeting.
Martinez said the combination of live virtual instruction, small group check-ins and onsite experiences was developed using feedback commonly heard from parents.
The school plans to provide Chromebooks to students who are in need of a device to complete their virtual learning.
"We want to make sure that we are able to ensure equal access to kids," Moore said.
Discovery will begin its school year with student-teacher meet-and-greet opportunities scheduled over three days from Aug. 12 to Aug. 14. Students' first day of virtual instruction will begin Aug. 17.
Read Discovery Charter School's letter to families:
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