First local district goes back to school: Triad superintendent says day “went well”

Students prepare to enter Triad Elementary School Thursday for the first day of class. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Students prepare to enter Triad Elementary School Thursday for the first day of class. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Triad Local Schools’ first day back for the new academic year since schools were ordered to close in March due to the coronavirus “went well,” said the district superintendent.

“It’s been 160 days since we put kids on buses,” said Superintendent Vickie Hoffman. “It’s been a little nerve-racking, exciting because we’ve just been wanting our kids back. It really went well.”

Hoffman said getting students back in-school was a priority.

“The fact that we had the opportunity to get them back face-to-face was a top priority for us if that’s the choice they made, but for us, it’s been a little nerve-racking in how plans change and how we make sure that we can meet everyone’s needs.”

The district gave families a choice of either in-person, which is based off the county health levels, or online for the start of the new school year.

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“We have only about 10% choose distance learning, 90% are coming face-to-face,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman added that they work closely with the county health department and county superintendents to be on the same page and using the four levels, although some areas of each district plan may be different.

One parent said her third-grade daughter is excited to start and that it’s good for the kids to be back in school.

“She’s excited. I’m excited. I think it’s good for them to be back in normalcy given the year,” said Stacy Joseph. “I really had all the confidence in the world in the school themselves, as far as what they can do... We’re confident everything will go smooth, as smooth as it can for the year.”

Hoffman said the morning went great for the first day, but she did have to stop one student without a mask.

“I only had to stop one kid without a mask,” she said. “I’ve been telling parents it will be different when kids get here and their friends are wearing masks... not that anyone loves it and really wants to do it, but it’s less threatening when all your friends are doing it too.”

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Grandparents of one first grader also said they have no concerns.

“I think he’s nervous but everybody else seems to be okay,” said Michael Boysel. “We don’t have any problems.”

Hoffman did add that she feels the district is doing something unique when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting the schools and buses.

“I think something unique to Triad compared to other places is we actually allowed our bus drivers to get extra hours. They’re helping clean, so they’ll go multiple times through hallways and clean every locker off and doorknobs and countertops and things like that, so I think that’s something we’re doing that’s a little different than other people are doing,” she said. “It helped us have people that are already in the system and working with kids be those people going through and helping to clean those areas.”

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