DEARBORN COUNTY, In. (FOX19) - It’s business as usual for students in Dearborn Co., In., something that hasn’t been the case for six months — and for students in many other Tri-State school districts, still isn’t.
Mask-clad and socially distanced, students and teachers alike have been in the classroom at South Dearborn Community Schools for more than a week.
South Dearborn Middle School Principal Sam Melton is glad to be back.
“That was the longest spring break ever,” he said speaking of the school’s forced hiatus from March-August.
It’s a sentiment shared by South Dearborn High School senior Ethan Fogle.
“It’s actually pretty crazy,” Fogle told FOX19 NOW. “Like, my whole life I’ve been waiting to be a senior, and I did not think it would be like this at all.”
Junior Corbin McHenry added: “It’s been kind of tough, but all of us students are getting very used to it. The hardest adjustment has probably got to be the masks and just breathing and getting breaks with the masks honestly.”
The district returned with a full five-day, in-person learning model the first week of August. It will remain that way unless a move to virtual learning is compelled by guidance from the governor or the Dearborn County Health Department.
“Our reentry plan has been proven to be a very successful document thus far, as far as the handling of the coronavirus pandemic,” District Superintendent Eric Lowe said.
Lowe prides his district in following all the new guidelines put in place to students, staff and teachers safe. They include signage on the walls, markings on the floors, scheduling changes and social distancing.
“We do not have any students that I’m aware of that have tested positive for COVID-19, and obviously we hope that trend continues,” he said.
Melton agrees with McHenry that the most difficult of the new guidelines to enforce is the mask mandate.
“We really try and stick with that,” he said. “And with middle-school students, it’s sometimes a challenge for them.”
Melton continued: “What makes it hard this year is that we have students that are still registering for school, so each day we might gain three or four students. So how do we plug those into the schedule to make it work with what we already have in place? Or do we have to change the whole thing based on new enrollment?”
Meanwhile, as Lowe deals with those questions, Indiana is moving forward with high-school football season, and challenged abound there as well.