By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
KILDARE — The 2021 spring semester has commenced, and schools are still grappling with how to educate their students in the case of a global pandemic. Schools closed during the spring 2020 semester, but enacted strict protocols to protect students and staff and slow the spread of the disease in the fall semester. KPS has added many protocols of their own, to make sure they are protecting the students and staff in every way they can.
The day starts with the school bus, where temperatures are checked for each student prior to getting on and wearing asks while riding the bus. All seats are staggered to limit contact with other students. Students who arrive at the school with their parents also have their temperatures checked prior to entering the building. All students and staff must wear a mask upon entering the school.
“They wear a mask all day, except when they are eating,” KPS Superintendent-Principal Bruce Shelley said.
Students remain in the classroom all day, except for physical education, and lunches are brought to the students in the classroom. Older students also remain in the classroom to reduce movement.
“Middle school teachers go to the kids, instead of the kids going to them,” Shelley said.
KPS is currently undergoing their basketball season. When they play, however, depends on COVID-19 cases in the county.
“The Kay County Health Department puts out a situation report that tells the daily number of cases in Kay County,” Shelley said. “We use that report along with the state school board association’s COVID-19 map, and if the county is in the Red level (100 or more COVID-19 cases for the week), then we continue with our heightened level at the school.”
All games are cancelled when the school is in the red phase, he said, and parents are allowed to determine whether to have the students learning in the classroom, or through virtual education.
Shelley believes the heightened protocols have helped protect the students and staff from COVID-19 and shave slowed the disease in the area.
“Our teachers have done a wonderful job with distance learning and giving our kids a quality education,” Shelley said.