After pausing the program for several months due to the Coronavirus, Scioto County Aspire opened its doors again on July 1, with newly implemented safety guidelines, to help people earn their GED.
“The program closed in March because of COVID, but it was an immediate closure so we weren’t really prepared with our students. We had some students who were online, but with all this going on it was hard for some students to stay in touch with us,” said Aspire Instructor Paula Baumgardner.
On July 1 the program opened again at the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center, in New Boston, with new guidelines to keep students and staff safe and healthy. Additional Aspire locations will also begin reopening soon, Baumgardner said.
To attend, students must be feeling well and have no fever or basic symptoms. Face masks and social distancing are also mandatory and hand sanitizer is available at all locations.
“Students will not be permitted to come to class unless all those are met, so we all can feel safe,” Baumgardner said. “We’ve removed all of those barriers so there should be no fear if anybody wants to come back.”
With flexible hours and five convenient locations – the ESC in New Boston, the 17th Street Learning Annex in Portsmouth, South Webster High School, Northwest Middle School, and Shawnee State University – students move through the program at their own pace. Distance learning opportunities are also available if the student is unable to travel. Day and evening classes are available, and all classes are free. The student only pays for the cost of the High School Equivalency test itself, and the Aspire program offers assistance with that fee.
The Aspire program also offers a Bridge program, for students who have already completed their high school diploma or HSE, but still need some remedial courses to transition to college. Bridge classes are offered at the Scioto County Career Center, in Lucasville, and Shawnee State University, in Portsmouth.
The program also hired a new teacher. Tiffany Poxes will be helping students with their GED and Adult Diploma preparations at the 17th Street Learning Annex.
“I think it’s important for anyone who wants to get an education to have access to the resources they need to do that. This program is well-designed to do that for anybody in the community,” Poxes said.
For more information about the Aspire program, contact them at 740-354-0219, visit online at www.scoesc.org, or follow Scioto County Aspire on Facebook.