Students return to in-person classes at Knox Community Schools
Knox Community Schools started its school year Thursday with in-person classes and relaxed COVID-19 policies.
Currently the district has a masks optional policy for students and staff.
“We definitely are excited to see the kids walk in the door and be in the hallway because last year we had them in virtual, but we’re excited to see them in person this year and work with them directly," guidance counselor Shirley Fostler said.
Teachers and staff are optimistic about this school year since they had success last year with COVID-19 protocols.
Last year masks and social distancing were required and enforced.
Now, masks are optional and social distancing is encouraged, but isn't as strict. Students can freely move through the hallways to their classes.
Despite Starke County being in the orange on the CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker map, meaning substantial transmission, Dr. Reichert believes the experience gained from the past year will help keep students safe.
“Last year we proved that we only had one case- that was proven- where we went from one student to having COVID and they transmitted it to another student. So out of our 1800 students last year, we only had one case where it was, and so we feel really good that our protocols that were in place last year met the demands of what the COVID virus was placing on our school district," said Dr. William Reichhart, superintendent of Knox Community Schools.
One other change this year: no virtual classes.
“We know that that does not work for the majority of our students and so that’s why this year we are not offering virtual here at Knox. We’ve learned, and we feel that we have to have kids in our building to be at the maximum learning level," Dr. Reichhart said.
Dr. Reichhart said the school board has been working with the county’s health department to decide what’s best for their students
“I’ve told our parents, I’ve told our students, I’ve told our school board that it will be up to us to decide. And there are no right or wrong answers for this. The amazing thing is- this virus. No matter what decision we make as school leaders, no matter what the board decides they think is best, there are going to be people on both sides that feel this decision isn’t the right one," Dr. Reichhart said.
Despite the relaxed protocols, Dr. Reichhart said if there are COVID 19 spikes in Starke County, they will go back to their stricter protocols.