School Superintendent Beam’s Update on How School Reentry is Going
We recently talked with Pocahontas School Superintendent Terrence Beam about how the opening weeks of school are going.
Mr. Beam how has school gone so far with those kids doing the virtual school?
“It’s going well” said Beam. “We are getting some good comments from parents and a lot of them are satisfied with the way things are going with the virtual, though it is hard. But the teachers that’s doing the virtual have said our kids are really engaged and doing well, and progressing well.”
How about the blended when the kids are in the classroom two days a week?
“I try to stick my head in every classroom, at least once so far, and all the kids seem to be OK. The first day they seemed to be a little apprehensive, but after that, they just seem like kids with masks on now. They are a little bit more outgoing now and a little more into it then they were the first day. But things have been going ok. I haven’t had any complaints from any parents. I haven’t had any complaints from any teachers. So, everybody’s kind of doing the best they can do right now, and I commend them for it.”
One good thing about this might be smaller class sizes?
“It is, but one thing that is hard for the teachers-I was talking to teachers the other day, and they said teach this group of kids for two days, you take a day off, and then you teach the same thing to the next group. So, it gets a little redundant for the teachers. In stead of having a nice week of progressive lessons Monday through Friday, now it is just a little choppy. It is harder on the teachers, and I think you are going to see a lot of people get really tired this year, because it is very strenuous, it is hard on you mentally to focus and do this.”
Have the bus drivers had a hard time getting kids to wear their masks on the school busses?
“The guidelines say the kids are supposed to wear their masks on the bus, and you can’t put more then two kids on a seat. So, if they wear masks, we can put more kids on the bus, but they got to keep the masks on. And the bus drivers can’t be expected to stop the bus every time a kid takes a mask off. Kids have to take some responsibility here, and we really need the parents -I know some parents have real strong feelings about the masks- but if they want our kids to be in school, they are going to have to help us here, and have these kids wear their masks. It doesn’t hurt them; it is the safest thing to do; and it keeps us in school. If we don’t follow that -and this is not a threat to anybody, just the nature of the beast, if we don’t wear our masks and we have an outbreak again, we are going to be out of school. So, we just kind of swallow hard and bit the bullet and do these things sometimes when we don’t even agree with them.”
Has there been difficulty getting kids to wear masks in the school?
“There are some who take them off when they are not supposed to. I was in a school the other day and I approached the principal about it. And I said ‘I was in a classroom and there was some kids who didn’t have masks on’ So it was just a little disconcerting to see that. And the teacher didn’t have a mask on either. Now, they were very far apart, but that is not what the guideline said. Guideline said they should have them on. So, yeah, we got a little bit of that, and we’re staying after them about it to.”
“I am hoping against hope that we can get back to some semblance of normalcy before we get to the end of school this year.”