The Elsberry Schools Board of Education meeting was the place to be last Tuesday evening as the elected board members, voted unanimously, 7-0, to send students in grades 7-12 back to in-person learning.
Since the beginning of school it has maintained grades K-6 in person learning with minimal interruption and grades 7-12 totally virtual. The room was full with a handful of parents and a considerable amount of teachers and staff to weigh the pros and cons of returning students to the classroom in the midst of the current COVID Pandemic.
The decision to start the school year on the Tier 2 plan drawn up by the administration was made based on recommendations from the health department and numbers of cases in the area at that time. While virtual has been a challenge for not only students, but teachers alike, they have made it work over the course of nine weeks.
Ask any student or teacher where the best place to learn is, many will agree it’s the classroom.
The recommendation of the superintendent to move to Tier 1 to begin the second quarter, Thursday, Oct. 22, does not come without numerous precautions to keep everyone safe. They include:
• Masks will be worn by staff and students at all times social distancing isn’t possible.
• Specific doctor notes will be required if not wearing a mask.
• Students will be required to report directly to their first period classes, no loitering in halls before school, between periods, or after school.
• Breakfast will be grab and go and may be taken to first period classrooms.
• Students will not use their lockers. Backpacks will be allowed.
• Students will not eat in the cafeteria, they will eat in 4th period classes.(HS 5th Period)
• Social distancing will be encouraged when space allows.
• Normal schedules will be followed, no cohort model will be employed at this time.
• Band specific restrictions will be in place as appropriate.
• Passing periods will not be staggered. Teachers will need to assist with moving students to the next class and remind students to avoid hallway and bathroom loitering.
• Students will need to bring water bottles.
• Encourage students to wash hands frequently and clean common surfaces.
When asked about his thoughts on returning, Dr. Tim Reller, Superintendent said, “We are looking forward to having most of our students back for in-person learning. There will definitely be some challenges as we make this transition but I am confident that our staff and students will make the best of this situation.”