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GISH students worried about possible shutdown

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 9:02 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - As cases surpass April and May’s highs in the central district, students at Grand Island Senior High are worried schools will have to shut down, and they’ll have to switch to remote learning.

“Students are worried about their ACT tests, making sure they can still get their college applications, what does this mean for their scholarships,” GIPS Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover said.

GISH Student Board Representative Kendall Bartling isn’t necessarily worried about the long-term affects of another shut down, but he’s more concerned about his mental health and missing out.

“I had social and emotional, a really tough time not being able to see my friends, not being able to interact and engage, and so did a lot of other people," Bartling said. "I think the biggest concern for seniors is the lack of senior traditions.”

The district said 3rd through 8th grade students retained only 70 percent in reading and 50 percent in math when they went virtual. The data also showed suicide screenings increased by more than 8 percent.

“We must do everything we can to help keep our students in school, so - they can have the best possible experience of being in-school even during this pandemic, If we are willing to make some sacrifices so they don’t miss out,” Grover said.

The district stated the majority of widespread activity of the virus is happening more in the community rather than in the schools. They plead with the people to mask up, so the students don’t miss out on attending classes on-site.

“Even if you don’t believe in it," GIPS Board of Education President Bonnie Hinkle said. "It’s the least we can do for our kids and isn’t better to be conservative about it rather than ignore it.”

Bartling feels disrespected when people don’t wear their masks.

“It feels like they don’t respect those around them, and that by not wearing a mask that you don’t care if I stay in school, you don’t care if I catch the virus, you don’t care,” Bartling said.

The district said people need to come together like they did back in March, and follow health guidelines to show students they care.

“If you want to stay in school, if you want your kids to stay in school, if you want things to continue as they are right now, a condition of that is wearing your masks, plain and simple,” Bartling said.

“Wear the mask, constantly wash your hands, and if you feel sick stay at home, and just try to be the most cautious as you can,” Senior Class President Diana Varragan said.

Students want to stay in school but only if it’s safe do so. The district will continue to enforce COVID-19 protocols to keep students safe, but said they will go virtual if it gets too dangerous for them to be in school.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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