KSD students who chose in-person learning returned Nov. 9

KHS+Principal+Dr.+Havener+greeted+students+at+the+Doughtery+Ferry+entrance+on+both+the+freshman%27s+%28Nov.+5%29+and+other+grade+levels%27+%28Nov.+9%29+first+days+back+to+in-person+learning.+

Tom Mueller

KHS Principal Dr. Havener greeted students at the Doughtery Ferry entrance on both the freshman’s (Nov. 5) and other grade levels’ (Nov. 9) first days back to in-person learning.

This year, every student came to school with a mask on, sat at least three feet apart and participated in class behind plexiglass face shields that surrounded the desks. Lockers are out of use, students are not congregating in the hallways to talk with friends before class, drinking fountains remain closed and free Grab and Go lunches are available at the exits of school upon dismissal. Freshmen electing to shift to in-person learning returned Nov. 5 while the rest of KHS returned Monday, Nov. 9. 

This is the new normal for the students who have chosen hybrid or full in-person learning, which is approximately 72% (1310/1821), though 6.43% (119/1821) are currently quarantined. While County Executive Dr. Sam Page is expected to make an announcement on new COVID-19 restrictions as soon as tomorrow, Nov. 12, KSD remains open. However, according to KMOV news, the restrictions would not apply to schools.

KHS Principal Dr. Michael Havener said that seeing students on the first day for both freshmen and other grade levels was exciting. Havener stood outside greeting students on both Thursday, Nov. 5 and Monday, Nov. 9 at the Dougherty Ferry entrance. 

We need to make sure that our choices inside and outside of school are keeping everybody safe.”

“Students and teachers did a wonderful job. [There was] a lot of preparation by the support staff getting the rooms ready for the teachers, the teachers getting the rooms ready for the students, the teachers having to pivot from lesson plans that they were already implementing to a new schedule, new system,” Havener said. “Students also [have] to adjust to that new schedule, [which is] a big deal. We weren’t even used to the virtual world – we started to get used to it and then we went into a virtual and in-person [model], so there’s a lot of transitions.”

According to the KSD COVID-19 Dashboard updated Wednesday, Nov. 11, seven KHS students have tested positive since Nov. 2. Four of those cases have been reported since the return of the first students to in-person learning on Thursday, Nov. 5; The first case was reported Saturday, Nov. 7, the next Monday, Nov. 9 and the two others were reported Tuesday, Nov. 10. Some students have already been asked to quarantine because they were identified as a close contact to an individual who tested positive. As of Nov. 11, 4.67% of KHS students are part of a quarantined group, while 1.76% are an individual quarantine. 65% of students are learning in-person, while 27.8% chose to remain virtual. Havener said that keeping everybody safe is the number one priority. 

It was really great to see everybody working together so we have this opportunity.”

“Now that we’re back, it’s not time to ease up on safety. I don’t want people to think ‘Oh, we made it through a week, everything’s ok,’ and the safety requirements are going to be less [restrictive],” Havener said. “We’re still in a critical state. We still need to do everything to stay healthy, and that means inside of school and outside of school because we have holidays coming up, we have events in the community coming up. We need to make sure that our choices inside and outside of school are keeping everybody safe.”

While students that chose the in-person option have the ability to switch to virtual at any point, virtual students are mostly locked into their decision. This only pertains to first semester, as outlined plans for second semester have not been announced. Families will be able to reevaluate their decision if there are still virtual and in-person models at that point. 

“I’m really proud of everybody,” Havener said. “From everyone wearing their masks, everybody moving in the hallways to everybody washing their hands. It was really great to see everybody working together so we have this opportunity.”