Sussex Technical High School students will begin the school year on a modified remote learning plan through the first marking period, with teachers having the flexibility to hold in-person programs on a voluntary basis, with parent permission, the district announced Friday.

“This approach aims to protect our students and staff while still providing students the great career-technical education they deserve,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. Kevin Carson. “Our staff has been hard at work, and this was the best and most workable approach.”

The Sussex County Vocational Technical School District Board of Education voted to approve the plan Thursday, Aug. 21. It is based upon several months of work by district staff, teachers and other stakeholders examining instructional and operational issues; a survey of parents on their preferences and logistics; and guidance from the Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware Division of Public Health.

The board previously voted to delay the start of the school year to give teachers additional time to prepare. The school year will begin following Labor Day on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Further information will be sent to students and families directly from the school.

Under the modified remote plan, students will have remote instruction and assignments will be delivered through the Schoology online platform. District leadership will evaluate the remote learning plan each marking period, examining current health statistics and state guidance in determining the direction for the second marking period.

Students will complete pre-assessments in all classes. Teachers are being provided with nine days of in-service time before the start of school to develop fully remote lesson plans and assignments. Technical teachers will focus this fall on classroom-based and theory instruction, with hands-on work anticipated to take place in the spring or through in district opportunities.

Students and staff who are on campus will follow all recommended precautions, including daily temperature and symptom screenings, mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing. Sussex Tech staff also are continuing frequent cleaning of high-contact surfaces and daily thorough cleanings of the entire building. Adult Education programs will continue utilizing appropriate safety protocols.