Safety for Students and Teachers in These Times

Olivia Cooper, JP student writer

A new reality that began back in March takes effect in our district as the decision to take school virtual comes into discussion. Looking at the new matrix (, the number of positive cases in Polk County, and in the school district influences the school board’s final decision. 

Each building looks at what is best for the students’ growth in education and safety for both students and teachers. Each building would rather stay face-to-face; however, when looking at numbers and the safety in the buildings, going online may be the best for each building. 

Looking at the middle school and high school, the students will be virtual for the five days following Thanksgiving break. Students will be running a block schedule with afternoon hours empty, for office hours with teachers. The idea of the block schedule allows the students to have a break from staring at a computer screen all day.

Seth Poldberg, principal at the high school, talks about how the block schedule for the students is more beneficial that all day learning online, “Research suggests students shouldn’t be online for more than three to four hours a day.” 

On the other hand, both Central and West Elementary are taking on hybrid learning, which means half the students will be in class and the other half will be learning remotely from home, with take-home assignments. This type of learning will be in effect from now until December 11. 

Superintendent Dan Mart talks about why the elementary has gone hybrid, “The main concern about the elementary is the increase after Thanksgiving break, and bringing that back into school.” By keeping the middle school and mainly high school in school as much as possible is the better path because the students are safer here in school. 

School was closed for students, November 20, for teachers to prepare for the days after Thanksgiving break, and November 24 school is closed for the elementary students as well, for the teachers to prepare for the hybrid learning. Teachers have adapted to having to teach virtual students and in-class students, and everything else that gets thrown at the teachers during these times. 

In each building the teachers have done their absolute best in this time of uncertainty, Poldberg expresses, “A big thing I want to say is, credit to our teachers that have done the best that they can this year, a great job of pivoting from on-site learning to online line to back and forth.”

Mart reflects on our school, “We are the only school in the county that is fully in person, and still doing very well, keeping this going as long as possible, is the best.” After break, the students will go online for a test run of virtual days, then return back to in person as soon as possible, for as long as possible. 

Whether the rest of the year gets moved to remote learning, or the students get to make their way to Alleman everyday to enhance their education, each teacher is giving their absolute best for the students. The school board faces the hardest decisions yet of what is best for our students and staff. Each principal takes action for keeping the students and staff safe. Times of hardship, and fear is when the power of community comes together to do what’s best and safe.