Carbon School District Superintendent Lance Hatch and Pinnacle Canyon Academy Principal Roberta Hardy were both in virtual attendance during the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce’s Live at Lunch event on Thursday to focus on returning to school during the pandemic.
Superintendent Hatch remarked that it is an exciting time for them as school is just starting again. He wished to speak about COVID-19 and the re-opening, which he acknowledged as a hot topic and something that they are taking very seriously.
Initially, there were major concerns about how the procedures would be controlled. The state has taken more and more control over the situation and the Carbon School District (CSD) has had to adjust accordingly.
Supt. Hatch assured all that the CSD website has a link to videos and resources for the school re-openings. He wished to ensure that people were aware that it is there. There is a section for students and parents as well as teachers and staff. The website also features the re-opening plan, which Supt. Hatch stated does adjust as the state implements changes.
He remarked that it is difficult to accomplish true academic improvement virtually. While the district has learned much, he stated that there is no substitute of having students physically in the classroom. The plan is first and foremost doing whatever they have to in order to ensure that kids are in school.
Hatch then spoke on remote learning. The CSD developed Carbon Online School in the summer, which is an independent curriculum that is not necessarily associated with the schools, for those that are not able to physically attend.
There are teachers assigned that facilitate and check on the remote learning students. Those classes are slated to begin on Wednesday, Aug. 26. Supt. Hatch stated that the students are very excited and building up to the moment.
“This is a big deal,” stated Supt. Hatch.
The CSD has received a lot of pictures from students that are very excited to come back to school. Supt. Hatch stated that it is probably the smoothest start to school they have ever had.
He spoke on the social distance and cleanliness guidelines, such as hand sanitizer at each drinking fountain and signs that urge the children not to reach for the food in the lunch line.
“We have had no issues with students in masks. They are little troopers; they put them on and wore them,” Supt. Hatch stated.
Principal Hardy then spoke, stating that she agreed with Supt. Hatch on the smoothness of returning to school and that the students are happy to be back. She then stated they have had more issues with parents and the masks than the kids.
Principal Hardy broke down the process, stating that every class is contained in either one classroom or two, such as sixth grade being in two classrooms. Students are not utilizing the gym or lunchrooms; instead, they are bringing the lunches into the classrooms. The reasoning behind this, explained Hardy, is to ensure that contact tracking is much easier in the event that a student falls ill.
She also stated that there are six teachers that are teaching from home as they are immuno-compromised. That has been going well, Hardy said, as they have great aids in those classrooms that are working with the students.