It’s been more than a month since Mackay school board members voted to remove the day of remote learning from the school week, and Mackay High School Principal Stephanie Green said all parties involved couldn’t be happier.
“Remote learning is difficult for everyone,” she said, “not just for students, but for their teachers as well.”
On Oct. 1 board members stopped having students study remotely on Tuesdays while in the yellow phase of their COVID-19 response plan. At that time, Superintendent Susan Buescher said the first two Tuesdays the district tried the hybrid schedule, 45 percent of students missed one or more classes the first week and 35 percent missed class the following week, causing the plan to be re-evaluated.
Green said now that students are back to a full week of in-person learning, attendance has returned to what it should be. Being in their classrooms another day provides more consistent education, Green said. Having a day in the middle of the week where students and teachers worked from home interrupted the learning process and affected the quality of education, she said.
To ensure in-person learning can continue, Green said she and staff are diligent about requiring face coverings. In the yellow phase of its response plan, which the district is under, face coverings are required in all classrooms and open spaces where physical distancing standards can’t be met.
“It took a little time to get in that habit, but we’re much better about it now,” Green said about getting students and staff to wear masks.
The most difficult group has been high schoolers, Green said, some of who still need to be reminded to cover their faces. However, as time passes, more and more students are getting on board, Green said.
The key is to discuss the requirement with students, the principal said. Constantly reminding students to put on face coverings and telling them why they need to keep them on can be a chore, but Green said it will eventually get the desired outcome.
Green, like other school administrators, fears the reason some students don’t take masks seriously in schools is because their parents don’t take them seriously at home. Green knows masks can be inconvenient, admitting it took her a while to get into the habit of wearing one. However, once she adjusted Green said she realized it’s a small inconvenience compared to the benefits.