After a long summer of researching, planning, reconfiguring learning spaces, developing safety protocols and training staff, students returned on Aug. 24 to in-person or remote learning to kick off the 2020-21 school year.
Dr. Larry Hewitt said in his superintendent’s report to the Board of Education that the district staff has been amazing. Everyone has pitched in to find solutions, take on new roles, problem-solve challenging issues, and prepare for a year unlike any other.
“This is the most memorable first day of school in my lifetime. Opening school both in-person and remotely has been daunting. Our staff members have worked literally around the clock the last 10 weeks to reimagine teaching and learning and safety procedures to make this possible,” Dr. Hewitt said. “Our students have been awesome. They are flexible and adaptable and we are thrilled to welcome them back in whatever option that they have chosen. We are glad to be at this point. We want to take what we have going on now and make it better and better.”
With 77% of students opting for in-person learning, one of the hurdles to opening day was implementing a student health check certification system. After a system test on Saturday and another on Sunday, 95% of our parents completed the health check before sending students on Monday. The district is appreciative of parents responding and participating. Staff members checked in each student upon arrival, and students who weren’t certified had their temperature taken and were asked the health questions about symptoms and COVID-19 exposure. School staff then followed up with the parents.
Teachers are implementing lots of new procedures and protocols, and students have responded well. Everyone is wearing masks, with students and teachers taking mask breaks by using the outside tents and shade trees for instruction, lunch and p.e. Social distancing will continue to be reinforced.