Students to Return In Person Jan. 25

Donovan Powell, Reporter

Secondary school students return to school on Jan. 25, the start of the next semester, in a blended education model for students that selected onsite learning at the beginning of the year. 

The Motion succeeded with a vote of 5-2 and the board adopted the recommended plan of secondary school teachers will be back in the buildings on Jan.13, elementary school teachers will be back in the building on Jan.12 followed by elementary student on Jan.13 

Teachers union President Kimberly Howard urged the board to wait until staff has been vaccinated.

“The vaccine will soon be available to school personnel and in just a couple weeks we’ll be in a much better position,” Howard said. “So don’t mess it up now.”

There were three different motions presented to the board, each one having a different start date for elementary school. Each motion included secondary schools starting on Jan. 25.

“It really feels like us going remote didn’t necessarily prevent cases in our staff and students. It may have, but it doesn’t appear that it did. It appears like just general community spread, a rise in that over the course of November and December, led to that corresponding rise in our staff and students,” board member Ben Blankley said.

The district is also ramping up their testing options with rapid antigen testing and PCR testing available to USD 259 and First Student staff, students and their family members at the district administrative center. Rapid antigen testing is only available to symptomatic individuals. For more information, see the district’s website.