For all schools this fall it has been an odd opening to the year, with so many changes because of COVID 19. Castle Heights Elementary is no exception. Yet there are many silver linings to the situation, and the positive energy the school opened with has definitely been a plus.
“It was really impressive how smoothly things started off,” said Principal Wendy Fluckey. “I attribute that to all the preparation work the teachers have done up front including sending out letters, making home visits, having parents cooperate in having the kids wear masks and many other things. The teachers are happy to be back and the kids are definitely happy to be back in school.”
The vast majority of students at Castle Heights came back to the classroom but 35 students are enrolled in the Carbon Online Program. The school has been working with those families to make sure they have access to the programs and materials needed.
“The first day of school everyone on the staff wore a special super hero shirt we had made,” she said. “That was a very positive thing as well.”
She said that the increased sanitation that has been stipulated by the health department has led to some interesting things happening including great cooperation among everyone.
“I have an office aide and she and I have been going around helping the custodian out with some of that as well so people stay safe,” she explained. “That has been a very good thing because it has me getting me around more and I am seeing what is going on in a different light. We are working it in to what we normally do.”
Large events with students attending will be difficult for awhile, and in fact some of the assemblies scheduled have been canceled for now, but the school did have their back to school night on August 26. Parents came to the school but entered classrooms through each rooms outside door and there was no mingling inside the school hallways. Teachers did their usual thing, but of course discussions about the differences in things at the school this year ensued as well. The PTA was near the front of the school signing people up and Fluckey said the enthusiasm for the school year is high this year.
“I met with the PTA, and of course with everything up in the air, we are not completely sure what the year will look like but we have put together a tentative plan,” said Fluckey. “Some of the things we normally do in the fall will get pushed to the spring. For instance there will be no fall book fair at parent/teacher conferences in October. We are just following the health departments guidelines on how to handle things. But we will get creative about things and come up with solutions concerning what we are facing.”
She said that when everything was shut down last spring, the love and the thirst to teach came out in her staff and that creativity showed up then and is continuing in classrooms and online this fall.
“The teachers made it happen and they continue to do that,” she concluded.