When Lawrence North closed its doors barely half an hour before the school day was supposed to start, more than 3,000 students and parents were left with countless questions. No one was prepared for something like this to happen, not even the administrators or teachers, who were already in the building.
“No air conditioning. The chiller is empty. It’s the thing that makes ice [for the air conditioning]. I didn’t [make the decision], it was the big, big, big, big boss,” Principal Brett Crousore said.
The decision came directly from the township’s superintendent, Dr. Shawn Smith. Ultimately the decision to shut down the building was not because of COVID-19 or the ongoing construction, it was due to the fact that the building’s chiller stopped working and since today’s heat index is predicted to be up to 100 degrees the township decided it would be safer for students to continue learning from home.
“This is not a construction issue. This is in the old part of the building. This has nothing to do with that [construction]. The reason for our referendum is for what is going on behind the walls,” Crousore said.
The school has brought in a repair company to fix the mechanical problem in the building. Today students at LN will engage in an at-home asynchronous learning day, as explained by assistant principal Ayanna Williams in a Parent Square message that was sent out to all students and parents this morning around 8:30 a.m.
“Today is asynchronous but the teachers are available. So, that means if you get on Canvas, and you have a question, you can reach out to your teacher,” Crousore said.
Asynchronous learning means that students will not be joining Zoom classes today. Instead they should check their Canvas pages for announcements, assignments, and emails from their teachers. Each class will operate a little differently, so students need to pay attention to what each teacher is planning for today. Teachers are also required to be available for office hours during their class periods today either through email or Zoom. Since LN students will be learning from home today, they do not have to be present for their classes at Lawrence Central or at the McKenzie Career Center.
“Lawrence North is closed down, but no, students are not required to go to McKenzie or LC.
We are not going to anticipate that students will go there. I’m sure they can. If a student wants to go to McKenzie, they are welcome to,” Crousore said.
Student athletes should check with their coaches to see if they still have practice today. Some coaches may decide to cancel their practices, while others may choose to continue as normal.
“No air conditioning wouldn’t affect 40 soccer players running around on the field or tennis players practicing outside,” Crousore said.
Because school is moved to being asynchronous instead of cancelled, the day will not have to be made up later in the year. Green day classes will be able to catch up for missed in-person time on Monday and Tuesday, which are the next green days.
According to Crousore, assuming that the chiller is fixed today, tomorrow will resume as normal in person. If the school still cannot cool down the building enough to safely educate students, tomorrow will be a synchronous learning day. Synchronous learning was the system put in place last school year when schools had to switch from hybrid learning to fully virtual.
“Synchronous learning tomorrow will be plan B. Exactly what we did November to Jan. 26 last year, when we got on everyday and Zoomed with your teacher.” Crousore said.
Parents and students should look for more information regarding what type of learning the school will engage in Friday to be communicated later today.