Currently, Springfield Public Schools have been attending in-person class but have split their students into two groups. Half of the students come on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other half come on Thursdays and Fridays. But, coming November, all students will officially be transitioning to in-person classes four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday).
According to the SPS website, K-2 students will begin four days a week starting Nov. 2. Grades 3-8 will begin four days a week starting Nov. 9. Wednesdays will be used to clean the schools, and students will attend virtual school that day from their homes. However, grades 9-12 will still be full time online.
Parents were able to decide if they wanted to send their kids back to school or to remain online. Students must remain in their current learning option until the end of semester.
While a majority of parents expressed that their kids are doing much better being back in the classroom and are happier, there were some concerns and nerves from both parents and students about returning.
Amanda Larsen is a virtual teacher as well as a mother of a 3rd grader and 6th grader attending Logan-Rogersville school.
“My kids were anxious about returning because they were worried about it being too hard since they missed two and a half months last year,” Larsen said. “Although they completed packets from the school, they didn’t feel prepared. They said they have both excelled academically since turning to and would not choose virtual for themselves.”
Larsen explained that lower elementary student parents were feeling overwhelmed and were not prepared for how much they would have to be involved in their kids’ online learning. Younger students are not used to having to use multiple apps and Zoom meetings.
“Parents that want to go seated but worry about masks and sanitation should know that wearing a mask all day isn’t that big a deal to students,” Larsen said. “I didn’t want to force my own kids to wear a mask, but they’ve never complained.”
Amie Casey has an 8th grader at Republic, and she expressed that while her son's grades have benefitted from in-person learning and he seems to be happier, she was still concerned about sending him back to school.
“I was nervous to send my son back because he would be around more people in close proximity and more of a chance to catch the virus,” Casey said. “I didn’t want to put him at a higher risk.”
While many kids were eager to return to the classroom, teachers and staff have had to find ways to accommodate the new COVID-19 regulations.
“Our district supplied every student with a school box that had all of their art supplies and school supplies,” said Angela Cunningham, an art teacher at McBride Elementary. “For me in the art room, I have long tables, so I was able to put kids at either end of the table (2 kids per table).”
As of right now, classes have been cut down to 30 minute long classes instead of hour long classes. Everything is sanitized and wiped down with Lysol. The floors now have markers on them to ensure that students stand six feet apart.
“Once they all come back (attending 4 days a week), because of the amount of kids that we will have, there won’t be social distancing anymore. That won’t be possible,” Cunningham said. “We are still going to be sanitizing after every single one of our classes.”
Cunningham also shared that she has her windows open and has purchased a fan to help with circulating the fresh air in and out.
SPS now also has a specific staff that works strictly with students who chose to remain online and for the students who chose to return to in-person classes.
The virtual teachers use a platform called Launch which was created by the SPS and contains an entire curriculum for students K-12.
“I’ve been really proud of our district for being innovative," Cunningham said. “Everyone wants this to be over and return to normal. My kids are so happy to be at school with their friends. You know, they do talk about it. They talk about the COVID. They are very educated about the virus and aware of it.”