Students at Crookston Public Schools will begin learning by distance education on Monday.  This week staff at all three schools have been providing device checkouts and other information for students and families. 

Superintendent Jeremy Olson said the district’s focus is getting kids devices and the internet access they need. “From Wednesday through Friday, we’ve been doing device checkout.  Starting on Monday, we will start providing distance education.  If a parent has not received a device and it’s Monday, Tuesday, and they still need one, they can still contact the school.  Our focus is that the kids have the devices they need and have access to the internet they need as well,” said Olson.  “If a parent is struggling to afford an internet option or get one in place, the school does have some numbers from local providers for low-cost to no-cost options depending on income categories.  We want to make sure that access is not an issue and is in place for our kids for the device and the internet.”

Distance education will be a work in progress for the district, and Olson said what happens Monday will probably have tweaks by Friday. “Our educators have done a fantastic job of getting everything ready.  It is very varied based on high school or elementary.  Our teachers worked very hard over these eight days.  I want to make people understand the gravity of the situation too.  If we were to plan for this as a district, we would usually take about a year to plan all of this out – how are we going to deliver it, how is access going to be delivered – we had eight days. I want to make sure that listeners understand the gravity of that,” said Olson.  “We’ve worked very diligently to get this rolled out.  We do know that what happens on Monday is probably going to have some tweaks by the time we get into Friday.  We are learning through this process, as are the teachers, parents, children.  We’re all in this together, trying to figure out the best way to deliver distance education.”

If families have questions that come up about distance learning, a need for services, or technical assistance, Olson said they should call their child’s school, and someone will be able to assist them. “They contact the school as they would any other day,” said Olson.  “There may be some call routing, for instance, you call the same number, but you may get a different person on the other end than you normally would.  We just need to expect that, as we are still trying to work with, what does the Governor’s order mean with our administrative assistants.  There may be some call routing that will happen, but if you call the number for your child’s school, you will get someone.  We will be able to assist you, and you’ll get your questions answered.”

Olson thanked the internet providers for stepping up to help provide internet for students that needed it, and reiterated families should contact the schools if they are having any issues with the devices or roadblocks with distance education. “We want to thank the internet providers for stepping up and working with our families,” said Olson.  “We know that was a difficult challenge.  I want to thank our staff for getting the devices out.  If you have not received a device at this point, we ask that you contact the school.  We want to make sure that if you need a device for your child’s education that we have that in place.  If you have any trouble with either access or a device, contact the school.  Whether that is technical assistance that is needed or helping us clear a roadblock, let us know, so we can make sure everything is in place for your child.”

Superintendent Jeremy Olson will discuss more distance education during Focus on Education Saturday at 8:35 a.m. on KROX.