Success and conflict: transitioning to in-person learning

Rachel Matteson, News Editor

Safety has become one of the biggest concerns amidst the pandemic. So, safety for both students and staff has created major obstacles during the process of transitioning back to school. Both the Issaquah School District and the teachers’ union have laid out their expectations for moving back to in-person learning, but there are many different guidelines and rules that would have to be put into place for such an event to occur.

“We have a set of guidelines we have to follow. Anytime anyone comes onto campus, they have to do a health attestation,” Liberty principal Sean Martin said.

Those entering the building have to take their temperature and confirm that they don’t have a fever or any other Covid-19 symptoms. Additionally, they have to wear a mask, follow handwashing and sanitation guidelines, and maintain a social distance of six feet from others.

While these guidelines may seem simple to follow, applying them on a large scale would be arduous.

“The hallways are pretty cramped inside the school, so it would be difficult to maintain a distance,” Martin said. “Also, classrooms typically have between 28 and 33 students in a class. The rooms are fairly big, but once you get that many people in there, it’s pretty tight.”

Amidst the conflict regarding high schools transitioning back to in-person learning, kindergarten students and first graders were allowed to start in-person on February 11.

Our littlest Bears did amazingly well! Every single student walked in with a mask on and wore them all day without any problems. They were excited to be in school and see their teachers and friends,” Briarwood principal Tia Kleinkopf said. “Our staff worked so hard to prepare for this day and set procedures in motion to keep kids safe and distanced.”

The success of the elementary schools as they continue to slowly transition back to in-person learning will influence transitioning secondary education students. 

“We can learn from the elementary schools as they transition back and utilize that experience to transition middle and high schools back as safely as possible,” Martin said.