As the first quarter nears the end, Jeffersonville High School students are wrapping up a first nine weeks like none before. The school year began with a virtual week and there have been non-stop changes ever since. On September 25, Jeff High will complete its first quarter with more than one-third the days being e-learning and more than half of the student body working through MySchool Online.
While the year has been abnormal, Jeffersonville High School Principal Pam Hall is proud of how the students have handled the changes. “I have been so pleasantly surprised,” says Hall. You [students] all have been so compliant, behavior has been wonderful. You all had a lot of changes thrown at you.”
Hall also feels that the school has dealt with the challenges well and was well prepared for the situation. She says they are constantly getting guidance from the health department, and they have a well-tested system in place.
When Hall is informed of a positive test of a Jeff High student, she asks the student a series of questions to better understand their activities and how to proceed with contact tracing. This includes retracing the infectected person’s location to assess who they were in close contact with and to find others possibly infected. Then she lets the central office know of the case. The nurse determines the contact tracing time frame, and then in building personnel find and alert students that have been in close contact.
One of the most dynamic aspects of this school year is the decision-making on in-person schooling. While the decision is made at the district level, Hall says they decide based on the quality of work students would receive. For example, she cites the school closure for the week of August 17-21. For this week, many teachers were out for legitimate reasons and in looking at the numbers they came to the decision that students would be better academically served by an e-learning week.
Despite cooperation from students, parents, teachers, and staff, some aspects of high school are impossible to replicate at this point in time. And for Hall, that’s what makes her most disappointed especially for the seniors.
Looking forward, Hall would love to get back to a normal school environment, saying, “I miss the excitement. I miss all the things that come with school.” But she acknowledges the reality of this year. “I don’t know if after this school year it will ever look like it did before.”