Because of its small size and local case rate, Jordan Valley School is back to in-school classes this month (Rachel Parsons/The Enterprise)

Jordan Valley's first week of school looks completely different this year due to Covid. Jordan Valley Schools get to go back to in-person learning due to their low numbers of students and lack of local Covid cases. The students and staff all had to get used to new routines and regulations.

The biggest change involved wearing either face masks or face shields for an extended period of time. Everyone in the school had to get used to adhering to social distancing guidelines. The staff had to prepare their curriculum online, but also in-person just in case there is a change to distance learning; furthermore, the staff also did this so they didn’t have to make so many paper copies to prevent more germs from being passed around. The teachers have it set up to where if a student is sick they can continue with their work and not fall behind, making for an easy transition as well as the prevention of illness within the school system. 

When entering the school, students had to wait outside to get face masks or face shields if they did not have them already. They had mustangs painted on the ground 6 feet apart outside for the kids, to help practice social distancing while they were waiting.

Before entering the school, kids must apply hand sanitizer. The school doors no longer open at 7:30, rather the principal steps outside at 7:45 to start evaluating students for entry. The later start time was meant to keep kids from hanging out with their friends and not practicing social distancing. 

Once the students got into the school, they got their lockers assigned by their advisors. Then they had to go to a school assembly. Normally all the students only take up maybe half the bleachers; but, they had to social distance. The students took up all the bleachers and there were only a total of 27 students. The meeting almost took an hour, and it went over all the new procedures. Some of the new procedures were to social distance, sanitize your hands every time you enter a classroom and to wash or use hand sanitizer before lunch. The attendance policy changed drastically as well, due to the new Covid regulations. 

Miss Douglass, high school social studies teacher, said, “I was so proud of our student body! So many schools around the country tried to open up but the students wouldn’t wear their masks or had difficulty physical distancing. Jordan Valley junior high and high school students acted like champions, wearing the masks, squirting the hand sanitizer, staying as far apart as our spaces would allow.

“Many times, as our students have traveled around the state for sports or FFA, Jordan Valley teachers and advisors have received compliments about how well-mannered our students are. The first day of school under Covid regulations just provided another example of the great values of Jordan Valley students. They do what it takes and don’t complain about it.”

Coming back to school with all the regulations did come with some challenges. One of the challenges is the face shields and masks muffling people when they speak. It’s extremely difficult because a lot of us have to read lips normally. After all, some people are extremely quiet, and you can only ask people to repeat themselves so many times. The face shield isn’t any better, because the teachers and students feel like they have to yell, however it echoes back into your ears and makes it sound like you’re yelling even though you aren’t. It is extremely difficult for the kids that are taking Spanish to understand the teacher. Clearly, the new regulations do pose challenges.

Crissy Martin, K-2 teacher, said, “I am so happy to be back in the school for in-person learning. This is the best format for teaching young students.”

Ms. Green from Rockville also said that she is excited and thankful to have her students back in the classroom.

Overall the teachers echoed the sentiment that they were happy to be in the classroom for in-person learning and teaching. Students were also pleased with the current set up. 

 “I thought it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, but also isn’t as nice as being able to see everyone’s smiles as it is without the masks!” said junior Cassity Gluch.

Kiana Quintero also said, “My first day back at JVHS was exciting while also very different. My first thought when I heard that we were going to be using hand sanitizer before every class was that my hands were going to dry out so much! It was nice seeing all of the teachers again. Overall, I’m very glad to be back in school, and I’m ready to take on my senior year and hopefully finish the school year in the building and not at home.”  

Students and staff members are excited to be back in school and hope everything continues smoothly. We hope that everyone stays safe and healthy in our schools so we can continue our year with in-person learning.

Abby Green is a senior and Oksana Hodsdon is a sophomore at Jordan Valley High School.