During a virtual Zoom meeting Tuesday night, the New Bloomfield R-3 School District Board of Education reviewed the school closure and discussed plans for next year.
"The silver lining maybe is there was a lot of time spent on curriculum — that's something near and dear to my heart," New Bloomfield High School Principal Paul Cloudwright said. "We had several teachers that were actually given time that they don't normally get to refine and build curriculum for their classes."
Cloudwright said some teachers handled the shutdown well.
"We had some high fliers that had some really good classes," he said.
Art teacher Christy Haas was one example of success with Google Classroom, Cloudwright said.
"She just threw her stuff in it and found a new way of doing things and probably she'll never go back," Cloudwright said. "She loves what she discovered about herself and about her curriculum and how adaptable it can be."
On the other hand, it was difficult to communicate with students who didn't take some classes seriously.
"It's still frustrating whenever you are sending things and then kids aren't participating, and we did run into some of that," he added.
Special education teacher Malinda Cline stopped by to visit her students with food for the families to cook.
"I delivered it to my students, and so they were really happy to see me," Cline said. "I saw the parents, and I just waved to them at the door — they were jumping up and down in the doorway."
Cloudwright and New Bloomfield Elementary Principal Julie Gerloff both also spoke of addressing mental health issues.
"I think my biggest concern — I emailed staff about it I think last week — is anxiety in children," Gerloff said. "I have seen a couple of kids just out and about, they've lost eye contact with people."
Gerloff said she has encouraged teachers to focus on socialization and rebuilding trust again next year.
"I think that is something that everyone is going to have to take into account because it's everywhere," she said. "It's all over the news, and so we're going to have a lot of kids with some anxiety."
To prepare for next year, the district is putting together a committee with parents, teachers, administration and board members. The committee will research and evaluate options for reopening.
Currently, the district is hoping it will be able to proceed with summer school in July or August and in-person classes for Fall 2020.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for June 16, during which the new board will meet for the first time after the June 2 municipal elections.