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Students, teachers adjusting to school during pandemic

PHOTO PROVIDED A student at Central Mountain Middle School clowns around for the camera during a recent mask break.

MILL HALL — On March 13, students in the area had their last regular day of the 2019-2020 school year without realizing it.

This was due to a worldwide pandemic.

The return to school for the upcoming school year had to be taken seriously and cautiously. Students were given the choice whether they wanted to participate in virtual learning, face-to-face learning, or hybrid learning for the 2020-2021 school year.

Following a soft start where half of the students attended each day for two days, all students grades K-12 in Keystone Central were able to return to school on Sept. 3 with many new procedures in place. Many parents have opted to drive their children to school this year and not use district transportation.

Students and drivers must wear masks while on the bus and additional cleaning on busses is also being done daily.Upon arrival, all students must have their temperatures checked and students with a temperature above 100.4 must be escorted to the nurse and be taken home.

Along with temperature checks, there are many other changes that were put in place by the superintendent.

Dr. Jacqueline Martin explained the new procedures that have been put in place, stating, “We have many new safety protocols in place that include masks, plexiglass, temperature taking, new hallway traffic patterns, additional cleaning and proper hygiene are being practiced regularly.”

With risk of a local outbreak from the virus, the district has protocols in place for when any staff member or student has a positive case of COVID-19.

“If we have a positive case we must contact the Department of Health for guidance on contact tracing and quarantining, while also notifying the families of the situation. In some cases a school, or several schools could also be closed for short periods of time,” Martin said.

Central Mountain High School English teacher Kelly Baker shared her perspective on the new protocols.

“I believe that our district has taken necessary precautionary measures to get us in school, taking temperatures, masks, hand sanitizers, and as far as hallway patterns and social distancing within classrooms go they are all important and necessary practices to keep us here,” she said.

Even with so many changes, teachers are looking forward to this school year including Spanish teacher, Sherri Daniels who shared, “I am most interested in improving my teaching through a new curriculum.”

Scott Baker, another Central Mountain High School teacher said, ” I am looking forward to the adaptability of both students and staff to be able to adjust to a new way of teaching and learning that we were forced into by COVID-19, and being able to incorporate our remote learners as well.”

There is no doubt that 2020-21 will be full of changes for all, but if students and staff are willing to work together by following the rules and procedures, this will allow both students and staff to remain in school.

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