HASTINGS – After a five month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic students and teachers returned to Hastings Public Schools this week. Superintendent Jeff Schneider said they are off to a positive start and it’s great to see students back in buildings.
The compliance with the guidelines set out has been good and no issues with staff and students wearing the face masks. Schneider says it takes more than just the faculty, staff, and students to keep the schools open.
We can’t do this without parents’ support, it’s impossible. Even though our start went really good, it was really challenging. Because there are a lot of questions from parents. For example, I have multiple children in the household and one of them is being tested because they have symptoms, what do I do with the other two? And the answer to that is we need you to stay home until those test results are back and you’ve been given guidance by the health department. So a lot of questions like that, a lot of things we’ve never dealt with before. But the parents were great, I’ve actually received a lot of positive communication from parents.
For those that didn’t feel comfortable with sending their kids back to school, the E-Learning option was available to them and that will begin on Monday, August 24.
It’s a little bit different at each level. Elementary is different than middle school which is a little bit different than the high school. But basically, at the elementary level, there will be a teacher assigned to different grade levels. I don’t know if this is going to work perfectly on the first day, in fact I would about guarantee it won’t. There will be some glitches. But the teacher’s lessons will be recorded. If a parent wanted to help a student with their homework and they wanted to watch what the teacher presented, they will be able to access that at any time. Not just the scheduled time of class.
Their E-Learning rosters are set for this quarter and the only way other students will be added on is if there is a health concern for the student. Schneider said that they have been attempting to be as flexible as possible and although E-Learning isn’t as effective as in person learning, it is better than nothing or a parent needing to take time off of work to home school students.
The South Heartland District Health Department risk dial is currently in the yellow, or moderate, risk level and they have their plan centered around when that dial is at the orange, or elevated, risk level.