The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Halfway into the school year, Grinnell-Newburg now has to offer every day, in person classes

Dozens of students have already opted-in for the return of everyday classes. Graphic by Andrew Tucker.

A new law requiring schools to offer in-person classes every day to any students who want them has left some Grinnell teachers and administrators worried about the challenges that lay ahead.  

Before Governor Kim Reynolds signed the new regulations, which went into effect on Monday, the Grinnell-Newburg School District was already planning to vaccinate all of its teachers and staff who wanted a vaccine by the end of February. The process is now more important than ever, as the number of students present in school buildings at any given time will likely soon increase.  

The new mandate will only affect high schoolers in Grinnell, as grades K-8 are already meeting every day for students who choose to attend in person. Grinnell-Newburg Superintendent Janet Stutz said that approximately 90 high school students reported that they will opt-in to every day in-person schooling before the second trimester ends. 

There are now three different teaching schedules that will be used in the high school. So far this year, the high school has been using an online schedule for students who remain at home, and an every-other-day schedule, with the week divided into alternating A/B-days, for students who have opted to return to campus. 

Now there is the addition of every day students. Every day students will be in the same classes as A/B students. 

Barrett Edwards is a senior currently on the A/B schedule. I think I want to go back to every day, but I understand that might not be the best course of action,” he said. I would rather stay safe than go back all in-person. 

I would rather stay safe than go back all in-person. – Barrett Edwards

Edwards will not be returning to an every day schedule this trimester, but he says next trimester is still up for debate. The second trimester ends on March 12, approximately a month after the policy goes into effect. 

Stutz said that safety is still the top priority. All 240 teachers and staff who decided to get the vaccine are going to receive the first dose within the next two weeks. This is not counting those who have already been vaccinated by other sources. 

Stutz said that the new law was rushed and will unnecessarily endanger students, and that she is frustrated that the mandate is hurrying students’ re-introduction process. I would have liked to [have] been able to have a conversation about this further,” she said. We wanted to bring kids back gradually anyway during the third trimester. 

I would have liked to [have] been able to have a conversation about this further. We wanted to bring kids back gradually anyway during the third trimester. – Janet Stutz

In addition to health concerns, the addition of yet another set of schedules could pose a logistical nightmare for teachers who are already struggling to keep track of the various ones already in use. For example, every day students might have to have their study hall during lessons they already went through. 

High school science teacher Sean Skillern said that the every-other-day schedule has already made instruction and lesson planning difficult, as he often has to give the same lesson twice, first to A-day students, and then the next day to the B-day students. This especially causes problems when there is a test, and it can take a full week to get through one. Skillern noted that with the current divided schedule cheating can become a problem when tests are given on staggering days. 

But, despite the drawbacks of the A/B schedule, Skillern said that he is apprehensive to start teaching some students every day and in-person. He received the first dose of the vaccine last week.

Well see how it looks, and then well abandon our schedule for the third trimester,” Skillern said. 

Stutz asked people to be patient with teachers. Were gonna give them grace, and were gonna let them navigate this in a manner they can with the students,” she said. Were gonna support them every step of the way. 

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