Knox students return to school for the first time since March

NOW: Knox students return to school for the first time since March

KNOX, Ind. --- The Knox Community School Corporation officially started in-person classes on Wednesday as the first local district to do so.

“They were so excited, oh yeah,” parent Tabitha Dillner said.

“They were up at 5:30 this morning! So yeah, they were excited,” parent Danielle Grigsby said.”

Despite resuming classes amid the pandemic, officials said the first day was successful.

“We’ve been very pleased with our first day,” Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart said.

However, the first day of classes in 2020 looked much different than it did in 2019.

“We’ve designated stairwells to be one way only so we have kids only going up one and down a different stairwell to eliminate the close contact,” Superintendent Reichhart said. “We have closed off all of our drinking fountains…that’s, that’s a big thing. We’ve asked students to bring in water bottles with their names on it. We have gone obviously to wearing masks, if we have contact within three to six feet of a student.”

School buses are also frequently sanitized between routes and all of these precautions are just the beginning.

While parents agree that their children were excited to get back to a bit of normalcy, some parents felt uneasy.

“It’s a torn feeling, I’m very excited for them,” said Dillner. “I’m excited for the school system…I have confidence in them. But then there’s always that fear and worry obviously because you know we’re the first ones to go back.”

Dillner is not alone, either.

“I am very nervous,” parent Jimmie Howard said.

With high-risk family members at home, the return is nerve-wracking for some parents.

“I think the community needs to be aware that they’re going to take home whatever they catch,” Howard said. “Other than that, I don’t see any major issues.”

“I’m kind of worried about the virus thing,” parent Danielle Grigsby said. “I have a terminal illness, so if I get sick, I’m pretty much in the hospital. But my daughter was excited to start school, so was my step-daughter…they got tired of sitting at home, so I don’t know. I’m just kind of on the fence about it.”

“There’s a risk and we acknowledge that risk,” Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart said.

That is why the district has an extensive plan in place.

“These are challenges, and as educators we always face challenges in our careers and I feel like we tried to do the right thing,” Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart said. “We listened to parents, we listened to staff, we listen to our community and we try to serve them.”

Beyond the safety and health risk, the district could also be facing a huge financial burden if they lose out on money from students who still have not enrolled in either Knox Online Learning or in-person classes, according to Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart.

“In the future, as I look down the road, one of my worries as superintendent and for all of us as superintendents, we don’t want to lose our teachers, and we don’t want to lose our staff,” Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart said. “But that is certainly one of the side effects of COVID, is the financial impact on Indiana school districts across the state of Indiana.”

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