Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
Gardner-Edgerton School Board discussed the in person learning models at their March 1 school board meeting.
Jennifer Ratcliffe, Gardner resident, said she wanted her kids back in school and was happy that the district was putting kids in school full-time again.
“I don’t want the choice taken away, and I want my voice as a parent heard,” she said. “I don’t want the children to be penalized when the numbers start to go back up.”
Ratcliffe said her children were excited to go back to school, but she feared they would go back to hybrid and remote school.
“Hybrid is the worst schedule to go back to,” she said. “The community itself is spreading Covid not schools, so please vote to continue to stay in school.”
Pam Stranahan, superintendent, said the district was looking at options for next year.
She said all school staff members who wanted the Covid vaccine had received the first round and a third had received the second round.
“The numbers are trending down still,” she said. “We will continue to watch as we move forward.”
Linda Miesner, director of middle school education and Heather Peeke, director of high school educational services, told school board members they were following all the standard pandemic safety protocols in the schools in order to keep them open.
Miesner said they were managing more students but still practicing social distancing and wearing masks.
“Things in place are what we have currently been doing,” she said.
Tressa Boden, board member, said she had been visiting with the high school and middle school students.
“We need to give them a break,” she said. “They are nervous about being back in the building with all the rules and have a lot of anxiety.”
Boden said the students world had been rocked over the past year, and the students should receive some grace for at least a week.
She said both sides were feeling anxiety, but the schools had also been doing an incredible job with a great plan in place.
Kristen Schultz, board member, said eventually a district-wide policy would have to be in place for the expectations and criteria for teachers and students.
Stranahan said it would be put under the district’s dress code policy procedure.
Boden said she wanted to make sure they weren’t going off the deep end on being safe.
Stranahan said face shields and proper equipment were still being provided and used in science and culinary lab classes to disperse air away without spreading the virus.
“If something sounds out of sorts parents can call the school for clarity,” she said.