Face-to-face learning resumes

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram

In-person, on-site learning has resumed in Garden City Unified School District 457.

Jan. 5 marked the first time since the school district has had face-to-face learning since the district moved to remote learning on Nov. 23.

Roy Cessna, USD 457 public information officer, said remote learning lasted for about four weeks, beginning two days before the fall vacation for Thanksgiving.

While school has resumed after winter break, unlike previous years, the district remains in the fall semester because the calendar was shifted and school began on Aug. 31, Cessna said.

The late start helped the district prepare for the start of the school year with the district's operational plan for COVID-19.

"The semester doesn't end until the 21st, and the spring semester doesn't start until the 25th, which is confusing because we get out for winter break and then we come back and we still have three weeks of fall school to go before we start spring semester school," he said. "Clear as mud."

Parents have until Jan. 15 to notify the district if they want to change their students to a different learning platform, if they want to switch to on-site instruction or remote learning or vice versa, Cessna said.

"Then we give them two weeks like we did at the beginning of the school year, we give them a two-week window, to see if it's working, that they can transition back," he said. "After that two-week window, then they have to, they're in it until the end."

Staff, teachers and students are all excited to be back in the classroom, Cessna said. All of the staff is excited to have the students back doing face-to-face instruction and students are excited for that, as well as being able to interact with their friends throughout the course of the day.

So far everything has gone well, Cessna said. They're at Operational Level 4 and are following those protocols.

"We're encouraging our students and staff members to wear the face masks, wash their hands and social distance, just to help us stay at that lower level so everybody stays healthy so we can stay face-to-face and get through the end of the school year," he said.

Garden City High School students make their way through the main hallway to their classes while wearing masks.