© 2022 KPCW

KPCW
Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local News
0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02e0000KPCW's COVID-19 news coverage for Summit County and Wasatch County, Utah. 0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02f0000You can also visit the Utah Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites for additional information.

Inside the McPolin School's Preparations for Keeping Students Safe This Year

Students K through 5 return to McPolin Elementary School today. It’s been since mid-March that teachers have had the face to face interactions with their classes. KPCW got a firsthand look Wednesday at how teachers and classrooms are getting ready for this school year in the time of COVID-19.

 

McPolin Elementary School Principal Bob Edmiston provided the visuals for just how his teaching staff has prepared their classrooms to receive children. He says he feels his team has done all they can to welcome kids back safely. 

 

Based on individual teachers’ preferences, desks are configured to accommodate about 20 students. Some had twine wrapping the room with identifying tags for each student separated by six feet. Edmiston says they’ll use the twine to measure distancing when students leave the classroom for recess. Other teachers had two-person tables with plexiglass dividers between. Some teachers found putting desks in rows the old-fashioned way works for them. 

 

Sanitation stations are everywhere throughout the building.  Every classroom has at least one area clearly defined for handwashing and sanitizing. 

 

Lunches will be delivered and eaten in classrooms. Even the playground is striped, so each classroom cohort plays only in their designated area. 

 

Edmiston is reluctant to give a full-throated affirmation that they are completely ready to deal with the new in-school landscape dictated by COVID-19. He says there is uncertainty about so many aspects of the disease. One example he gives is the neck gaiters the district is providing for each Park City School District student. 

 

“They spend all that money and they put these gaiters [in] and then Duke comes out with a study that says these gaiters are no good,” he said. “And then, change. They were ready and now all of a sudden they have to add masks to the bags, so I got them last night.”

 

When Edmiston is asked what he’s doing to be ready for kids’ return, his answer is: he is taking it day by day. 

 

“So, I know we hear the language that every teacher will get a K-95 mask. Not every teacher needs a K-95 mask, nor do they want one. We have a supply of our K-95 masks and those teachers that want to have one, and there are more ordered. It’s just that getting it all in. We have a certain supply for now and as we get more, they’ll be distributed to the buildings. But, we know, I do not have 100 K-95 masks. But I have enough to open safely and everybody who wants one will have one and we’ll continue to support as we figure this out day by day.” 

Edmiston believes the community must find a way to bring children back to school. He says it’s going to be hard and he feels personal responsibility for the health of his teachers, students, and their families.

 

“If one person gets really sick, will I be able to handle that responsibility,” he said. “So, we’ve got to figure this out. And, that’s where it is. Six feet. Wear the masks, self-check at home, wash your hands. Let’s get through that and we’ll slowly figure out how to do this better. And it will be interesting with, like you said, 200 students from out-of-state re-entering our programs in all of us learning to get along. Yeah, it will be a great opportunity but it’s going to be bumpy.” 

 

Edmiston says following the COVID-19 safety protocols should not be about politics or if you believe in the seriousness of the illness. He says it’s about doing the right thing for the community. He says if the snow flies, and they’re still in school learning, he’ll consider that a success. And they’ll find a way to adapt to the season changes.

Students K through 5 return to McPolin Elementary School today. It’s been since mid-March that teachers have had the face to face interactions with their classes. KPCW got a firsthand look Wednesday at how teachers and classrooms are getting ready for this school year in the time of COVID-19.

 

McPolin Elementary School Principal Bob Edmiston provided the visuals for just how his teaching staff has prepared their classrooms to receive children. He says he feels his team has done all they can to welcome kids back safely. 

 

Based on individual teachers’ preferences, desks are configured to accommodate about 20 students. Some had twine wrapping the room with identifying tags for each student separated by six feet. Edmiston says they’ll use the twine to measure distancing when students leave the classroom for recess. Other teachers had two-person tables with plexiglass dividers between. Some teachers found putting desks in rows the old-fashioned way works for them. 

 

Sanitation stations are everywhere throughout the building.  Every classroom has at least one area clearly defined for handwashing and sanitizing. 

 

Lunches will be delivered and eaten in classrooms. Even the playground is striped, so each classroom cohort plays only in their designated area. 

 

Edmiston is reluctant to give a full-throated affirmation that they are completely ready to deal with the new in-school landscape dictated by COVID-19. He says there is uncertainty about so many aspects of the disease. One example he gives is the neck gaiters the district is providing for each Park City School District student. 

 

“They spend all that money and they put these gaiters [in] and then Duke comes out with a study that says these gaiters are no good,” he said. “And then, change. They were ready and now all of a sudden they have to add masks to the bags, so I got them last night.”

 

When Edmiston is asked what he’s doing to be ready for kids’ return, his answer is: he is taking it day by day. 

 

“So, I know we hear the language that every teacher will get a K-95 mask. Not every teacher needs a K-95 mask, nor do they want one. We have a supply of our K-95 masks and those teachers that want to have one, and there are more ordered. It’s just that getting it all in. We have a certain supply for now and as we get more, they’ll be distributed to the buildings. But, we know, I do not have 100 K-95 masks. But I have enough to open safely and everybody who wants one will have one and we’ll continue to support as we figure this out day by day.” 

Edmiston believes the community must find a way to bring children back to school. He says it’s going to be hard and he feels personal responsibility for the health of his teachers, students, and their families.

 

“If one person gets really sick, will I be able to handle that responsibility,” he said. “So, we’ve got to figure this out. And, that’s where it is. Six feet. Wear the masks, self-check at home, wash your hands. Let’s get through that and we’ll slowly figure out how to do this better. And it will be interesting with, like you said, 200 students from out-of-state re-entering our programs in all of us learning to get along. Yeah, it will be a great opportunity but it’s going to be bumpy.” 

 

Edmiston says following the COVID-19 safety protocols should not be about politics or if you believe in the seriousness of the illness. He says it’s about doing the right thing for the community. He says if the snow flies, and they’re still in school learning, he’ll consider that a success. And they’ll find a way to adapt to the season changes.

Related Content