Bi-weekly Owen County COVID update

Monday, July 6, 2020 - 11:14

As we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic, there are promising days and days when disappointing news ensues. Last week, the U.S. set another single-day record of coronavirus cases totaling 39,327 new cases. As lockdown restrictions ease, we must be cognizant that the progress that our state has made can easily be reversed if safety precautions are ignored. Fortunately, Indiana is one of the states that has not been hit as hard as some regions which are experiencing surges of the virus. States in the South and on the East and West Coasts have been severely affected.

With a resurgence of cases, it can be difficult to be forward-thinking when it comes to topics like Owen County students returning to school in August. When many schools through the country implemented a stay-at-home, e-learning policy to prevent the unintended spread of COVID-19, students throughout the world had their education experience cut short or altered. Learning became more difficult and parents had to juggle their children’s curriculum on top of all other issues brought on by the pandemic. Simple skills seemed impossible and now many parents are worried about their child’s return to school for more than just health reasons. Questions plague concerned parents — “Will they be able to keep up?” “Do they know the right information?”

This summer, when your OCCF was approached with a Lilly Endowment Community Scholar’s request to be our summer intern, great minds got together to formulate a plan that could help with this cause. The Owen County Community Foundation (OCCF) and Spencer-Owen Community Schools are partnering to target these learning gaps and help our children.

With grant assistance from Lilly Endowment Inc, the OCCF was able to open an internship position to develop a Summer Math Tutoring Program. This program is designed to bridge the gap between at-home learning in the spring and the upcoming fall semester.

Elizabeth Beeman has developed this new Summer Tutoring Program. The program provides two primary services; online math resources and one-on-one tutoring. Elizabeth is the 2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar for Owen County and is currently attending Indiana State University in Terre Haute for a degree in Math Education.

On OCCF’s website, math resource documents have been created for Preschoolers through advanced math concepts like Calculus and Statistics. These documents are full of websites to help students learn and practice math skills relevant to their age or math course. Each listing includes a description of the services provided to make the hunt for the perfect resource even simpler. These webpages can be used throughout the summer to refresh math skills and during the school year to supplement learning.

Elizabeth is also implementing a one-on-one tutoring program. Through this program, Spencer-Owen Community Schools students will receive customized, free math tutoring. The program will run for five weeks until the start of the SOCS school year. Elizabeth currently has a full schedule of students to tutor this summer, however, if a child you know is in need of math help this summer, please contact your OCCF so we can put you on the program’s waitlist. We very much appreciate Elizabeth’s help and expertise during this uncertain time.

In other news, the COVID Recovery Plan has provided $100,500 in grants to Owen County small businesses and $25,800 to local non-profits and charities.

We recently caught up with two local non-profit leaders from La Campagne Ministries and the Owen Valley FFA. Julia Beck of La Campagne reported that the grant money from the OCCF has helped them maintain full operation of their community food pantry. La Campagne has been able to provide regular clients with food options and even accept new clients that have been negatively impacted by the crisis. Grant money issued to the Owen Valley FFA will allow students to continue to participate in various leadership conferences despite the cancellation of a key fundraising event this year.

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