Vigo Co. School leaders discuss the state of local public education amid COVID-19 pandemic

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– The Vigo County School Corporation is still on track to downsize the corporation within the next two years.

Education leaders discussed their post COVID-19 plans this morning during a virtual meeting Friday.

Vigo County Schools Superintendent Robert Haworth said they’ve overcome unique challenges like accommodating students remotely at the start of the pandemic.

With $2.7 million in CARES Act funding and other grants, the district acquired over 13,000 Google Chromebooks for VCSC students in grades 3-12.

“In grades 3-12 we are one to one today… What makes that incredible is that when we passed the strategic plan in February, we had no learning management system and no devices. But we had a plan to be there by 2023,” he said.

The district formed the Vigo County School Corporation COVID-19 Task Force to address mitigation plans inside the classroom.

He said their work is what has allowed elementary students and soon middle school students to get back in the building full time.

“We think we’ve done a good job and we think we’re ready given the numbers and where they are. We’ll see what happens over the weekend. Fall break scares us, but I think we’re up to the challenge. We’ll see what happens next week.” 

The district also continues working toward its future goals of updating buildings and closing 3 elementary schools by 2022.

Haworth said they’ve made progress but there’s still work to be done.

“Architects have completed a facility analysis. They’ve been researching alternative options.. we are behind on development of the multi facility plan..  high school gets a lot attention but we have to think about our entire operation,” Haworth noted.

A committee has yet to make a decision on which elementary schools will close but the district hopes to repurpose them to benefit the community.

The district will hold virtual forums to get the community’s input.

“We have been talking about team Vigo. Simply put, I believe our children and our collective and individual futures go farther when our community works together.”

Officials said due to the coronavirus pandemic a May referendum on high schools is unlikely, but not impossible. However, they were able to make progress financially by saving $1.7 million by not purchasing school buses in 2020.

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