The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Harlem Elementary Welcomes 2020 Students in a New-Age Setting


September 16, 2020

Mrs. Hopkins and her first graders are prepared to begin the school year while incorporating Plexiglass barriers for safety.

During the last week of August, a new and unusual school year began for Harlem Elementary School students. School District #12 is following a hybrid approach to learning this year as a means to cope with the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Those students who attend school in person will find everyone, including staff members, required to have their temperatures taken upon entering the building, while wearing masks and practicing social distancing measures.

Janice Gilham, Computer and Technology Assistant for the school, reported that many other scenarios within the school have changed as well, in order to adhere to the safety precautions the school district has adopted. For instance, because grade level students cannot interact with those in other levels, many schedules, including recesses and lunchtimes, have been staggered to accommodate student safety.

Ms. Green demonstrates the "Ghostbusters" disinfecting system used to sanitize playground equipment after each recess.

Other changes have been made as well. A visitor to the building will likely notice that Plexiglass barriers have been installed throughout the school. And a motorist driving by might observe someone on the playground with a ghostbuster-style back pack spraying down the equipment, which is sterilized after each grade level's recess period. High-touch surfaces are also cleaned frequently, and bathrooms are disinfected every hour, on the hour.

"This is only a short sample of many of the safety precautions Harlem Elementary has instituted," Gilham explained. "However, after completing the first week of school, it is reassuring to see our students in the building following the requirements without complaint, showcasing the resilience and the adaptability that Lil' Wildcats possess. Harlem Elementary is proud of our RESPONSIBLE students!"

With these safety precautions in place, Harlem Elementary students can benefit from face-to-face learning with a teacher's support, encouragement, and advocacy. Meanwhile, their parents and guardians can rest assured, knowing the school district is making every effort to keep their students, their employees, and their community members safe.


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