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Career Tech prepares for school year amid COVID-19

Students are preparing to head back for in-person skills training hoping they’ll be able to learn enough to become certified in their field.

Delaware Area Career Technical students are preparing to head back for some in-person skills training hoping they’ll be able to learn enough to become certified in their field of choice.

“We’re going to bring students back to career tech on a hybrid basis and we’ll split the kids in half and the academics will become remote,” Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman said.

Students often choose career tech to get a hand-on approach to a field of their interest. 

Caroline Sheridan has studied engineering at the career center since her sophomore year in high school.

“We build our own robotics and we go to competitions and compete against other robotics teams,” Sheridan said.

She is now entering her senior year and is focusing more on hydraulics and coding. Some of which she can figure out on her own.

“We get electronics kits which is basically just a box and we have a circuit board with all our components that came with a handbook in our labs that we can do with that, so we're able to stay on track with our electrical part of the curriculum.”

Sheridan said there are quite a few elements of her program that do require specific pieces of equipment students are unable to take home or need more explaining to use properly.

Like other schools, Delaware Area Career Center went remote with their curriculum last spring.

Programs like Cosmetology and Fire Service Training both had to send students back to the lab in June for hands-on work in order to gain hours of practice to sit for their license exams.

“Those two classes actually will be coming back five days a week we are bringing on additional certified staff that will assist and we will break those students into two groups so they can get those hours,” Freeman said.

Freeman and her staff have created four plans for their students should COVID-19 change how they must continue with school. She said she must consider students who live in other counties and the attendance rates of students and staff when deciding whether to go fully remote.

Freeman is also working to make sure all students have access to the internet by providing Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots for their classes.