“Bee Your Best” theme sets tone for school year at Golden City

October 20, 2020

GOLDEN CITY- The Golden City R-III School District has been busy the first of the school years, preparing their setting for restrictions created by COVID-19. Desks are spaced six feet apart. Children walk an “eagle span” apart down the hall. Honeycomb shaped stickers mark the distance between waiting children. Students mask up for the bus. Otherwise, one might say its “business as usual” for Golden City Schools staff and students.

With Golden City Schools seeing only one confirmed COVID case, staff are trying to decide whether to continue to hold their breath with fingers crossed behind their backs or give one another a pat for pulling off what, in July, seemed an undaunting task: Return to in-person school under social distancing guidelines. The over-arching community of parents at Golden City stressed a desire to return to normalcy as much as possible, spurning mask requirements.

Golden City staff have done the job to see that request be fulfilled to the extent that county health regulations would allow. In consideration of this, teachers began work on the blueprint for the current year six weeks before contract dates even began. All this to ensure an (hopefully) uninterrupted first semester of the 20-21 school year.

While some of the success of social distancing can be accounted for by small class sizes, there can be no doubt of the determined and diligent commitment of a staff unified in one purpose; that being to aid students and the community of Golden City to have the absolute best chance of receiving desperately needed, well deserved and required educational resources.

Many, if not most, educators agree there is simply no replacement for meeting the social, emotional and educational needs of children outside of a brick and mortar school inside classrooms interacting face to face with caring teachers, even temporarily.

All one needs to do is turn to social media to weigh parent and teacher feedback in districts who are yet to return to their physical school buildings. Negative comments abound from overworked teachers who have much larger student loads without additional compensation and parents worried about their children’s confidence; not to mention the detrimental effects of unexpectedly disrupting children’s routines and isolation from social opportunities. For many children, their safest haven still exists at school.

Social distancing has not been “all bad”. There is much to be grateful for. Student behavior has improved due to the required personal “bubble” and disruptions on busses have decreased with the advent of assigned seating in family groups. Self-awareness of our surroundings is another plus… how much we touch our face, each other and learning to be intentional about keeping a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

Golden City Schools’ daily regimented program of routine disinfecting by staff including a powerhouse janitorial team working after hours, many times late after games, to fog the entire school, along with “Foam In, Foam Out” habits and mandatory assigned seating surely must attribute in large part to a lower than average year for school absences and illness.

None of this would be achievable if not for a staff willing to unite at consistent reinforcing of boundaries and raised expectations for social distancing procedures within the school culture.

Some might say you would never know there is anything very different based on the positive vibes running through the hallways these past six weeks. With flu season quickly approaching, perhaps the real test is set to begin, although feelings remain upbeat and optimistic for the weeks ahead. With administration adding professional development time for virtual school prep, teachers feel as prepared as they can be for a transition. Definitely more so than back in the spring. Other positives to aid a switch over include having successfully provided devices to every student and upgrades in internet accessibility.

Golden City Schools may have been told they had to be grounded, but that has not held them back. They are the Golden City Eagles aiming high and soaring higher; making unforgettable memories over a wholly controversial year and smiling their way through what has been at once their most challenging but potentially, despite it all, their most productive school year yet.