On September 22, the Ritenour Board of Education voted to allow Pre-k through 3rd grade to return back to school, with kindergarteners starting October 7 and students in grades 1-3 starting October 12.
The district has decided to split up into cohorts depending on last name. This is being done to limit the amount of students in the building on any given day. In the email sent out to parents on September 23, it explained the expectations.
Group A involves students with last names A-K with their assigned class days of Mondays and Wednesdays.
Group B will be last names L-Z with the assigned days of Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Both groups will be online for Fridays.
Ximena Rosales, a third grader at Wyland Elementary School, is very concerned about getting sick. She believes it will be easier to go back because she doesn’t have to worry about her connection going out, but also believes she’s at a higher risk to get Covid.
Griselda Leal, a parent with a student at Marvin, also has concerns about younger students starting back in person.
“I don’t feel it’s safe for the kids to go back yet because it’s almost as if the school district is testing whether it’s safe or not. I would rather continue doing school online. If anything, the safest option would be for older kids to go back since it’ll be easier for them to follow rules such as social distancing and wearing masks,” Leal said.
With this being new to everyone, the Ritenour School District and each school’s principal will continue to work together and tirelessly to make sure the transition back to school runs smoothly and safely.
The district has created many new rules in order to try to keep students safe upon their return. There will be more entrances than in the past, and no large gatherings and less students on buses. In addition, students will have their temperature taken daily upon entrance to the school, will be required to wear masks daily, and teachers will keep all of their desks six feet apart.
Janice Key is a parent of a first grade student at Wyland Elementary School. She sees both positive and negative aspects to this decision.
“I want them in the classroom, I believe they learn better with in person teaching and more tools at their fingertips. However, I don’t like the 2-day in person and then remaining days at home with only teacher interaction 3 days a week. A teacher should be present everyday,” Key said. “Being in school with their peers is best and feel at their age they need the social interaction.”
Although the district has released the safety measures they are using to keep children and adults safe in the elementary school buildings, Key still has some concerns and questions for what school will look like on a daily basis.
“I’m concerned with classroom size, how will they spread out? Where will they eat lunch, in the classroom or in the cafeteria? Will it be cleaned prior and afterwards. Can they bring lunch from home?” Key said.
While there are still health risks involved, the transition from fully virtual school to having some in-person classes will create some positive benefits for the students.
Josue Delgado, a first grader at Iveland Elementary School, is excited about going back to school because he loves school and he misses his friends. He also thinks going back to school would be easier because his teacher can help him and he doesn’t have to worry about the technology difficulties.
No official change has been made for grades 4-12, so they will continue to operate in full time virtual instruction.