Teachers back in empty classrooms preparing distance-learning plans

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At Discovery Elementary School in Buffalo, teachers were back in an empty building working on distance-learning plans on Wednesday.

"This is a prolonged commitment and effort to deliver instruction from a distance to our students, it's unprecedented," said Superintendent Scott Thielman.

Multi-age teacher Haley Nelson is packing up book boxes, math workbooks and planning with colleagues.

"We do believe that we are to prepare for anything at this time and by doing that we have gathered student materials and we will set those aside ready for any home deliveries," Nelson said, in case delivering those materials becomes necessary.

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The Buffalo Hanover Montrose School District says if needed, distance-learning could include school bus drivers dropping off learning packets for younger students.

Technology could also be used to stay connected with students.

This week, the district will survey parents about access to the internet and technology.

"We've done an inventory within our own district to determine how many devices we have and we feel if that is the mode of delivery, then we have the capacity to repurpose iPads or Chromebooks to the homes," Thielman said.

He said companies have also stepped up to provide hot spots for internet access.

The closure is not only tough on students and parents but also teachers, who spend so much time building connections with their classrooms.

"It's emotional, it's sad, it's a little family that you have and I look forward to coming to them every day, and I hope they look forward to coming to school every day, too, so it's hard," Nelson said.

The district is using this state-mandated closure to prepare distance-learning plans and said if the closure is extended and the distance-learning option is needed, more information will go out to students and families about that.

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