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New school year will bring changes to NCECBVI

Julie Rach
Nebraska City News-Press

Months of meetings have gone into planning what back to school will look like at the Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Handicapped.

Site Administrator Sally Schreiner explained some of the changes during the June 24 meeting of the Nebraska City Rotary Club at Wildwood Park.

Schreiner said that, unlike local districts, which have local control almost all the time, NCECBVI has to mesh with the 244 districts across the state because their students come from across Nebraska.

Some of the students are on-campus at the Nebraska City center, and others are taught by traveling NCECBVI teachers.

Students who live at the center have private bedrooms and bathrooms, but they share a common living room space, said Schreiner, where they often gather in the evenings.

Schreiner said she and her staff are relying on a Launch Nebraska site that the state department of education has created in making their plans.

Schreiner acknowledged that there is “still a lot to figure out” before classes resume.

Right now, staff members will report to NCECBVI on Aug. 10 and students will return on Aug. 17.

Since the students were sent home March 16, one of the things Schreiner did was to create professional development plans for her paraeducators and dorm staff, whose primary responsibility during a normal school schedule involves hands-on time with the students.

Schreiner considers herself “blessed to have a great crew” of coworkers, whom she has divided into three teams—Leadership, Conditions for Learning, and Continuity of Learning.

Each team has focused on a different aspect of the reopening, she said.

The Continuity of Learning Team has devised three scenarios: all students return to campus, all students are off campus in a full remote learning setting, or a combination of on-site and off-site students.

Schreiner noted that Internet access has been an issue for some students during the online learning session that concluded the 2019-2020 school year.

She said that staff members who travel around the state to teach students will likely have their vehicle trunks full of PPE, such as masks and gowns.

Schreiner said that the 2020-2021 school year plan calls for NCECBVI students to be in the classroom more than they have been in previous years to protect them from exposure to COVID-19.

“Everything we teach our students is about independence, and we’re going to take a lot of that away,” she said.

The Nebraska City Rotary Club meets at noon Wednesday.

For more information on the club and its activities, contact President Rex Nelson at 402-873-3166.