Are We Prepared?

Is the school ready if a COVID shutdown will occure?

By Braxton Mastre, Reporter

As the school year continues, the concern grows of being forced to go remote. 28 days into the school year and dozens of students have been quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19. However the school is fully operational even with the struggles. Yet the question remains: If the school gets shut down due to COVID-19, is Elkhorn North prepared for that?

From not all the topics being taught, to Zoom not working and technical difficulties, the shutdown in March had many issues.  “Our entire district continues to work diligently to provide the best education possible to all of Elkhorn’s students,” said school board member Renee Vokt, “The district held online focus groups to gain feedback from teachers, principals, students and staff to make improvements should we need to go back to long term distance learning. Some changes would definitely be made and learning will look slightly different than it did in March.”

With COVID still being a fluid situation, the procedures for a shutdown are not set in stone. As Vice Principal and Athletics Director Luke Ford said, “This is definitely uncharted waters. I presume and hope that the COVID shutdown won’t happen and I don’t foresee it happening. There a lot of that is dictated to us from the state level, from the county level, from the city level, and we just do the best we can with the parameters we are given with whether we can be in session or not.”

Response time is another question people have about a COVID-19 shutdown. There are many different ways to respond to a situation like this. ENHS history teacher, Abbie Lamb said, “I know they have discussed a potential flex day of in person learning and online learning. Nothing is finalized though.”

What about a prolonged shutdown? A shutdown that goes on for months is essentially what we had back in march. Renee Vokt, Elkhorn Public Schools board member said, “The Elkhorn Public School district has plans in place should we have to go back into long term distance learning. We’re incredibly lucky to have such great people working at our schools and district office. These folks worked diligently in the spring to get students up and learning remotely in a very short time frame. They continue to work to make necessary adjustments to provide the best learning environment possible for each and every student.” 

There are many challenges with distance learning. Vice Principal Ford said, “Humans are wired to be in contact with each other. I think we just overall mental wellness improves when we interact with one another. So my biggest concern is the isolation factor and not having that interaction.” He went on to say, “You can never replicate what happens in a classroom with distance learning. The teachers did a phenomenal job, but in person learning will always be better than distance learning.”

Administrators and teachers say the education of students is the highest priority for the school and the district. As a School Board, it’s our responsibility to provide an education for each and every Elkhorn student,” said Renee Vokt, “We are also responsible for each and every Elkhorn Public School staff. During a shutdown, this has many challenges but still remains our number one priority.” 

During stay at home learning, teachers need to keep up with the heavy loads of work. Abbie Lamb said, “You work all the time and you never get your emails down to zero.” 

“You can’t replicate in-person learning. No matter how hard you try it will never be as good,” Ford said.