Huron School District developing safety plan ahead of August 24th start date

Education

HURON, S.D. (KELO) – The Huron School District has chosen August 24th as the date to have students return to class. There’s a lot to consider before having students return. The district has spent months developing an action plan. They’re getting advice from staff and parents on what to do next.

While teachers usually have all of the answers, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly left them with many questions.

“We want to put the students first, and… is it best for them to be in school? We’re not just talking curriculum-wise, we’re talking mental health-wise, emotional, physical stuff: what is best for our students?” Huron High School math teacher Brandi Fitzgerald said.

To get an idea of what needs to happen when the next school year rolls around, Fitzgerald helped form a ‘Teacher Think Tank.’ This pools teachers between K-12 from around the district together share ideas.

“We don’t want to make the decisions, but we want to voice and just advising them when it comes to the decisions,” Fitzgerald said.

This is just one of many groups that has Superintendent Terry Nebelsick meets with on a weekly basis to develop a district action plan. He’s also given out a survey to parents to get their thoughts.

“What we’ve learned from our surveys is that, right now, we’re running 93 percent of the respondents want their children back in school,” Nebelsick said.

They’re putting strong emphasis on classroom safety measures and flexible remote learning.

“We’re hoping the parents can have the discretion on personal equipment, on masking, on that kind of thing. On whether their child is ready to come back or we provide a digital education while we get them back,” Nebelsick said.

“We can still reach out and be their teachers and be there for them,” Fitzgerald said.

While they might not have all of the answers yet, right now, it’s all about asking the right questions.

“We have great confidence in our parents and our staff in that we’re all together in this as a community, so we want to go forward doing the best that we can,” Nebelsick said.

The district is also forming a “medical review committee” and “masking and social-distancing” guidelines for the schools. To see a more thorough outline of their plans, you can visit the district’s Facebook page.

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