BENSON — If students can and want to be in the halls and classrooms of school buildings, local superintendents are happy to have them. And will as long it’s safe to do so.
Micah Mortensen, superintendent for Benson Unified School District, says the staff and students in his schools want to be there so they decided to resume in-person instruction on Monday after the holiday break.
“We want to establish a routine for our students and for them to have contact with their teachers even if it’s only for a week,” he said. “We’ve had a good first few days of school. Our kids want to be here, our staff want to be here and our parents want their kids here.”
The superintendent added that some students chose to remain home for virtual learning after the break to see how the next couple of weeks go before returning to in-person classes.
Mortensen praises the district for providing parents with choices on how their student receives education this year. BUSD students have the choice of attending in-person instruction four days a week, a hybrid model of two days in person and two days online or the complete distance learning.
Mortensen said 900 to 1,000 of the district’s 1,300 students that are enrolled remain on campus.
Like BUSD, St. David schools are seeing more students and parents favor being on campus rather than participation in the distance learning option.
“We have approximately 20 percent of our students choosing to use the remote learning option at this time,” St. David Unified School District Superintendent Kyle Hart said. “We hope to continue to have both options available as long as possible. This has been a very trying year for our teachers and our students, but they are all working hard to get the most out of a very difficult situation.”
Pomerene School District Superintendent Mike Sherman said the district is in a hybrid model and has 119 students on campus. Attendance is good despite the hybrid model.
“We will continue with the hybrid model until our board and staff feel it is no longer necessary. That time is unknown at this time,” he said.
Hart and Mortensen agree that their staffs have been what has made the multiple learning models work.
“I believe our staff are unbelievable heroes,” Mortensen said. “They are keeping our community together.”
He said district bus drivers are playing a large role in the district remaining open since they are willing to drive despite the pandemic.
Both superintendents agree the most challenging part of this year are the different platforms teachers have to teach in to ensure all students receive the best possible education this year.
“St. David staff is doing a great job continuing to be able to juggle two separate models,” Hart said. “Most of our students have done a great job as well dealing with this. I look forward to getting back to normalcy sometime soon.
“A positive attitude is the key to having a successful year as an educator in 2021.”