September 8th will see students back in the halls of Central again for the first time since March. After being put off from the original start date of August 24th due to rising COVID-19 cases, students will finally be able to return to in-person learning- with a few modifications.
To be in line with Governor Kim Reynolds’s educational guidelines that mandate that at least 50% of learning must be in person for it to count towards the required hours that make up the school year, most students will be doing a hybrid half in-person/half online model. Families were given the option to opt for fully online schooling this year as well, to accommodate any reasons why they or their child may not feel so safe with in-person learning.
To determine who goes to school on what day, students have been split into two groups: Group A and Group B. This division is based on the first letter of their last name- Group A contains families A-K and Group B has L-Z. Group A will go on Mondays and Tuesdays, Group B will go on Thursdays and Fridays, and who attends on Wednesday alternates every week.
At school, the water fountains will be shut off and no lockers will be used. Hallways will be divided into two one way lanes. Large classes such as PE and music classes will be limited in size. Face masks will be required, and the district will provide one cloth face mask to every student. Before students even come to school, parents are expected to take their children’s temperatures to be sure they do not have a fever. All of this will be done in order to minimize the risk of students and staff getting COVID-19.
Senior Naomi Kalmbach has her concerns whether this will be enough to counteract the one rouge factor- student behavior and conduct.
“I’m sure the staff are trying incredibly hard to esure [the guidelines are being met], but having witnessed just the general behavior of people in a school, I find it hard to believe social distancing and mask wearing will be strictly followed,” she explained through e-communications.
Kalmbach has opted for the hybrid model, as she prefers learning in person. She also expressed concerns over the Term Zero, or 5 terms instead of the usual four. “[…] as someone who participated with the voluntary learning, it feels like a punishment and that we get the short end of the stick,” she said.
In addition, due to the AP Online Academy starting August 24th and ending their 1st semester before winter break, Kalmbach will be taking 7 classes for the first 2 terms of the year, and she is not alone. Many students will be faced with handling more credits than they’re used to, without the dedicated work time during school hours they are typically given.
And when asked about her predictions of if school would close again, Kalmbach said that, “[it’s] more of a likely fact that there’s a very high possibility of school shutting down once more.”
Mr. Flynn was reached for comment but he did not respond.