BUNKER HILL – To provide a public avenue for discussion related to schools reopening in the 48th District, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with area superintendents last week.

“After several weeks of the new school year, I’ve seen firsthand how difficult remote learning is on both parents and students,” Manar said. “I’m incredibly appreciative of the time Superintendents Fregeau, Owsley and Cox took to join me for these difficult, but necessary discussions, and for their commitment to making decisions that are in the best interest of our students and staff.”

Joining Manar were Dr. Paul Fregeau of Decatur Public Schools, Superintendent Shane Owsley of Gillespie and Superintendent Dan Cox of Rochester. Topics included what led each district to make its respective reopening decision, problems presented by remote learning, and what could lie ahead this school year.

“This school year is off to a good start, given these unusual circumstances,” Superintendent Cox said. “That really starts with our parents, teachers, our principals and our support staff. They’re doing truly remarkable work and deserve recognition for that.”

“Because of our rural setting, some students don’t have access to quality internet services, there is added frustration on all ends. Our staff has been nothing short of amazing while navigating this situation, whether it’s dropping off packets to students who need them or downloading lessons on to a flash drive,” Superintendent Owsley said. “I know Senator Manar is working diligently in Springfield to expand broadband access in Macoupin County and I’m thankful for his advocacy.”

“We’ve been steering this ship as we’ve built it since mid-March, and there are no easy solutions to the problems we’re facing. What we can do is make informed decisions with the safety of our students and staff in mind first and foremost,” Dr. Fregeau said. “At the end of the day it’s all about what we can do to best serve them.”

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