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The Jaguar Journal

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Northshore Announces Reopening of Schools for the 2021-2022 School Year

On May 14th, Northshore School District Superintendent Michelle Reid announced that she and the school board are committed to reopening schools with a full-time in-person model for the 2021-2022 school year. This news swept through the school district quickly, leaving excitement and anticipation in its wake. However, there are still so many questions left unanswered. Will masks still be needed? Will social distancing be possible? How will this fulltime in-person model even work? “The full time in-person option has a lot of details yet to be worked out. We know the superintendent of the state has said that we are gonna be open for all kids, five days a week, kind of just like normal,” said NCHS Principal Dr. Eric McDowell. However, with all students returning, concerns have arisen regarding issues such as social distancing and possible vaccination requirements. “The state superintendent said that the physical distancing thing should not be a reason why you can’t open. I also personally think the mask requirement will be gone as well,” said Dr. McDowell. Both students and staff are more than ready to return to a so-called “normal” school year. “Personally, I can’t deal with online school. I’m not introverted enough, and my ADHD is too bad for me to focus when I have dogs running around,” said NCHS Junior Kaitlin Schneider. Although, it’s slowly becoming clearer that this coming year will be far from what’s been considered normal in the past. “Students will need some time to readjust to being in-person, especially being in-person with so many of their peers. I think there will be widespread understanding that next year will look different from years past, and that we will all have to be flexible with one another as we continue to adjust,” said NCHS English teacher Edith AhYat. However, readjusting may prove easier said than done. During remote learning, most students have found that grading has been far more lenient, but Japanese teacher Emiko Kamitsuna is adamant that once in person learning starts, the grading goes back to normal. “My expectation is that when we are back to school, expectations are higher and grades are not as lenient as that of remote learning,” said Kamitsuna. And grades won’t be the only changes made. Due to budget cuts caused by the pandemic, class sizes have grown to between 30 and 40 students per class. Kamitsuna, for example, is expecting a class of almost 40 students next year, as opposed to her usual classes of 15-20. Another point of concern for the district is whether or not students will actually want to return, but that issue was, at least partially, resolved. According to a recent Q&A published by the WA State Department of Health, “Some school districts do not have the resources to provide both a fully in-person and fully remote learning experience for their students. Districts are required to provide a fully in-person option, but they are not required to provide a remote option”. While this may be concerning news for some schools, North Creek has announced that they will, in fact, be offering an online option. “As per the most recent communication from Dr. Reid and our school board, we are planning to re-open 100% in-person, but separate 100% online options will be offered to families as well,” said AhYat. The last, and possibly biggest, issue is whether or not the students of NCHS will be required to take the covid vaccine. “There’s every chance that they will add Covid to the list of diseases you have to be vaccinated for to attend school, but they haven’t done it yet. We’ll have to just find out what the department of health says,” said Dr McDowell. However, one thing is certain: Nearly everyone is anxious to return next year. “I love being in person and actually being able to talk to people. I do know that I would come as often as I could while being safe,” said NCHS Junior Jaskeerat Kaur.

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