By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Visitor access to Yukon school sites will be restricted as steps are being taken to ensure safety in all buildings.
Yukon Public Schools’ buildings are set to open Thursday, Aug. 20 for students in the traditional school setting.
Classes will be taught in-person by YPS teachers with appropriate safety measures in place, district officials said.
Curriculum pacing guides have been developed for each grade level/content area and have been enhanced to include state objectives missed due to last spring’s school closure.
Health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted YPS officials to announce new procedures for the 2020-21 school year.
This includes no outside visitors inside the district’s school sites.
“We will continue to keep our kids as healthy as humanly possible,” YPS Superintendent Dr.
Jason Simeroth said. “Just understand, this is the world in which we live right now.
“We’re ready to get back to normal, but we’re not there yet. And we’re going to do the best we can to protect everybody that comes into our building.”
Visitors won’t be allowed in the school buildings and all entrances will be protected.
Only rarely will someone be permitted to enter a school if they don’t have educational
business – and they must wear a face mask and have their temperature checked, Simeroth noted.
Parents of younger students won’t be able to walk their children to classrooms or morning assemblies, the superintendent added.
YPS teachers will keep their classrooms clean and custodial staff will continually sanitize school sites – everything from doorknobs to light switches.
The Yukon school district has 13 sites where students and staff will be during the 2020-21 school year:
• Yukon High School, 1777 S Yukon Parkway.
•Yukon Middle School, 801 S Garth Brooks Blvd.
• Independence Intermediate School, 500 E Vandament Ave.
• Lakeview Intermediate School, 872 S Yukon Parkway.
• Redstone Intermediate School, 11502 W Britton Road.
• Central Elementary School, 300 S 9th.
• Myers Elementary School, 1200 S 1st.
• Parkland Elementary School, 2201 S Cornwell.
• Ranchwood Elementary School, 607 Annawood.
• Shedeck Elementary School, 2100 S Holly.
• Skyview Elementary School, 650 S Yukon Parkway.
• Surrey Hills Elementary School, 10700 Hastings.
• Yukon Alternative Learning Experience, 946 Poplar
Redstone, Yukon’s newest school, isn’t due to open until fall break in mid-October (see related story).
Until then, Redstone students will be housed at Yukon’s former sixth grade building at 1000 Yukon Ave.
Meanwhile, parents are being encouraged to drive their children to school (whenever possible) to reduce how many students ride on YPS buses.
Every other window in Yukon school buses will remain open to have constantly circulating air in an effort to reduce the risk of virus spread.
Dr. Simeroth reiterated his request for school patrons to show patience and cooperation.
“Just know our hearts are sick that we have to do this because we love kids and we love to serve those students,” the superintendent said.
“That’s what we’re doing. We’re just doing it in a different form.”
Parents of YPS students who are not comfortable sending their children back to school buildings next month can opt for virtual learning – a 100% online experience.
Yukon’s virtual school is set to begin Wednesday, Aug. 26; enrollment deadline is July 31.
YPS will provide the hardware needed, whether a Chromebook or Chrome pad depending on the child’s age.
“We’ve invested a significant amount of money to make sure our plan next year will be moving forward,” Simeroth said. “Not like last year. Last year was a ‘do-the-best-we-can-in-a-crisis situation’.”
The school district will partner with apartments and mobile home communities to place “smart bus” devices in their offices to help provide Wifi Internet connectively.
Everything will be online.
“It will be all virtual,” Simeroth said. “There will be no pen and paper required so you don’t have to worry about printing off pages, you don’t have to worry about driving by a school to pick up a packet.”
This self-motivated, self-paced option will be monitored by teachers.
Due to the number of students now applying for Yukon Virtual School and the need to provide certified teachers for both traditional and virtual learning pathways, enrollment in the Yukon Virtual School will now be a semester commitment.
A “blended” learning option is only available for high school students, grades 9-12.
This is open to those students in extraordinary circumstances who can only attend traditional school for part of the day.
The application process is more rigorous than virtual learning.