WHITEHALL, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After setbacks from not only the pandemic, but significant storm damage, Whitehall Elementary School was able to welcome back students with nothing but smiles under the mask.
“We know that the place for kids is on campus, and we will take as many every day that we can get,” Whitehall Elementary Principal, Judy Gould, said. “We are taking our K1 learners every day and our two-through-six on alternating days, team maroon and team white. We’re ready to get everybody here on campus, get everybody fed, and give them the best education as we possibly can.”
Grades seven through twelve in the district are working remotely for the time being, due to storm damage and the overall class instruction being different than usual. Gould says with safe operations, in-person instruction is crucial for the students.
“You can buy a workbook and you can deliver what you can deliver, but the best way to get an education is face-to-face,” Gould said. “We will get as many kids here every day as we can and we will follow the protocols and keep the kids who are here safe.”
Gould says one of the biggest challenges is transportation and getting kids to campus. Since the capacity on school buses has been limited due to social distancing guidelines, over half the community is providing their own drop-off and pick up.
Once they arrive, there’s three entrances and exits students will use, which also allow more space within the halls.
“This community works like a family, so we know them and they know us. It’s a trusting relationship where they know we are going to do right by them and they have been incredibly accommodating to us,” Gould said. “It won’t work if we bring everybody here and we don’t pay attention to protocols and then we will all be back at home. So, we are really working hard to making sure the safety is first, we build some community and even if it takes two weeks to get academics up and running, we will have done it in a way that everyone feels respected and everyone feel safe and there will be plenty of time to catch up on the reading and the math.”