White County School Director Kurt Dronebarger said the school system’s hybrid in-person and virtual learning schedule off to a great start.
“I feel pretty good overall,” Dronebarger said. “I’m really proud of our faculty and staff. Our teachers have worked really hard, they’ve given up a lot of summer time to plan and train. It’s not perfect by any means, we’re stumbling on our feet a little bit out of the gate but they’ve really worked hard.”
Dronebarger said with fewer students in school facilities, social distancing is more attainable. Half the student population attends school Monday and Tuesday, while the other half attends Thursday and Friday. School buildings are closed Wednesdays and Saturdays for deep cleaning.
Two main issues parents have mentioned are finding child care and someone to help with online lessons. Less than ten percent of the student population has opted for complete virtual learning.
“We’ve really tried to think about not overburden our parents because they’re feeling the stress here,” Dronebarger said. “A lot of them are still working and trying to balance that. It’s a challenge, I can’t say that everybody loves the plan. We don’t love it either, but it is what we felt in White County was the safest approach as we started the school year.”
Although there is a plan in place, there is still plenty of tension and anxiety between parents, faculty, and students. Dronebarger said health is the district’s top priority. He said teamwork is the key to coping with these anxieties.
“The White County Board of Education doesn’t have all the answers, but apparently neither does the CDC and the federal government,” Dronebarger said. “We’re all listening to the same news reports, we’re all navigating the same strange waters together so we’re just asking folks for a lot of patience and a lot of grace. If we make mistakes or if we run into a road block, we’ll work on it together.”