October 1, 2009 in City

Districts keep flu sufferers connected with schoolwork

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Inland Northwest students who think coming down with the swine flu means a break from homework – think again.

Districts appear to be following the U.S. Department of Education’s recommendation to develop a range of strategies to keep students learning. Many schools already have plans in place for dealing with extended absences, officials say.

A strain of the flu sweeping through the Inland Northwest schools is already putting the systems to the test.

The options include paper homework packets that parents can pick up, e-mailed assignments and downloadable assignments from web pages.

“We’ve always allowed students to make up homework, and make it easy for students to find out what their assignments are,” said Terren Roloff, spokeswoman for Spokane Public Schools. “All the teachers have the ability to have a Web site, but it’s up to the individual whether they utilize it or not.”

So far, no mandates have been put in place requiring the school districts to make homework available online, but many teachers are moving in that direction anyway, officials say.

“Several teachers are putting their assignments on the Web, at least in the middle schools, and teachers are always available through e-mail, which they make known to the parents,” said Janet Feiler, Coeur d’Alene School District spokeswoman.

In the case of sickness, Lake City High School officials are asking that parents call as early as possible in the morning if they want to pick up homework at the end of the school day, Feiler said. “That gives office staff time to collect assignments from the students’ various teachers, which they will do for any student who has been out of school three consecutive days.”

Ralph Thayer, Mead School District’s executive director of student services, said other than phone and e-mail communication, “if students are gone for a long period of time, a parent can get together with the school to make a plan.

“We want to be flexible,” Thayer said. “And we want them to stay home if they have the flu.”


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