Administrators, teachers and paras worked over the extended break, preparing lesson plans for the distance taking place this last quarter of the 2019-20 school year as all school buildings have closed for the period in the wake of COVID-19.   Dr. Jen Kern, USD 353 assistant superintendent of Curriculum, put together a “shell of an online learning plan,” Shelby Metcalf, communications specialist for the school district said. All building principals gave their input and all teachers in the district then met virtually with Kern for two days straight via Google Meet   All grade level teachers then worked together to create their learning website (at the elementary levels) or Google classrooms (at secondary level). All teachers spent hours uploading curriculum online or creating learning packets.   Elementary Teachers, paras, principals worked hours in their buildings putting together kits for every student with learning packets, a Chromebook (if needed) and supplies. At the middle school they worked for hours cleaning out lockers and bagging up the belongings of more than 300 students, to pass out.   Charity Elder, principal of Eisenhower Elementary said, “Teachers spent the week after Spring Break working endlessly to get resources ready for the students. They collaborated, shared, created, and worked as a team to create a plan for taking on the task of online teaching and learning. Monday, March 30 was proof that all of their hard work truly paid off. Every grade level had an amazing turnout of online Google Meets where kids got to virtually see their teacher and classmates.”   USD 353 librarians Sarah House, Kristin White and Donna Starnes spent days prepping and checking out chromebooks for over 700 students. The chromebooks were passed out to parents and their children, waiting in cars.   “It went way better than we could’ve ever expected,” Kern said. “The time slots were set up so parents had an hour time slot to come pick up. They came just a few at a time and so it gave us the opportunity to hand stuff out and to answer quick questions if necessary. We were able to just slide stuff into cars and people were in and out in only a few minutes.”   Jennifer Worley, an elementary teacher with the district, said it was great to see students, (albeit from a distance) while handing out supplies. Teachers were able to explain a few things to parents, who were appreciative of the time teachers took to put learning plans and supplies together. There was a mix of excitement, fear of the unknown, and reassurance that we are all in this together and things were going to be okay! We are excited about the journey ahead with our new way of learning, but miss our students like crazy! It was so great to see their faces and hear their voices this morning.   Kern said that for families who do not have wifi service, she is looking at a few options. Verizon has said that they will add hotspots to every plan and add 15 Gigs, but there are some glitches and this is still being worked on. There will be a drive up set up in the back parking lot of the high school for those families that have indicated a need. The district is working with Verizon and AT&T on other options.   In food service, workers are preparing free to-go meals, which parents, with their children, are picking up every morning between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. at the high school. During the gap in service last week, Wellington Middle School PE teacher Jaedyn Ledesma, with donations from the community, prepared meals.   Worley said there was a mix of excitement, fear of the unknown, and reassurance of everyone being “in this together” when supplies were handed to students and parents.   “We are excited about the journey ahead with our new way of learning, but miss our students like crazy,” she said. “It was so great to see their faces and hear their voices this morning.   Metcalf said, “So many people came together to make this work. It’s hard to put into words. It’s been truly inspiring.”