Moffat County School District back in regular routine as school ramps up in second semester |

Moffat County School District back in regular routine as school ramps up in second semester

BACK IN THE SWING OF THINGS: Students head out of Craig Middle School along Yampa Avenue Wednesday afternoon following a day of classes. Moffat County returned to school on Jan. 4 following holiday break, and is looking to pick up where the district left off at the end of 2020. For more on the return to school, turn to page 9. (Max O'Neill / Craig Press)

With school back in the swing of things in Moffat County, the district and teachers are taking the lessons learned from the first semester and applying them to the second semester, which could have some promising changes later in the year.

The first week back went off without a hitch according to Moffat County School District Superintendent Scott Pankow. He was very complimentary of the way that the first week went as teachers and students get back into their routines

“I think everything went very well. It goes back into our regular routine, learning started occurring, everyone was doing really well, so it was great, picked up where we left off,” Pankow said.

They returned while Moffat County is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, something that has continued to affect the school district. As of Jan. 11, the school district did not have any outbreaks during the 14-day stretch from Dec. 28 to Jan. 10. There were 0.2% of students and teachers in the district that were COVID positive as of Jan. 11, according to the district’s case reporting. However, the COVID outbreaks in the first semester have taught Pankow lessons to apply in the second semester.

“I think obviously, when we look at the close contact and the contact tracing, we have to be flexible, we have to really keep with the masks and the distancing and the seating charts,” Pankow said. “As we are looking at that going forward, there are certain metrics that we need to know that we are tracking on our webpage, but also looking at the trends of the county, if they are moving back down to orange and the restriction levels on the dial.”

The teachers in the school district have been given KN95 masks and ASPM level 3 masks to wear in the classroom in order to further attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. While the ASPM level 3 masks have not arrived yet, according to superintendent Pankow, some teachers are wearing the KN95 masks in the classrooms.

“I think everybody wearing those has really helped. We are not seeing a transmission in the schools right, even our data shows that,” Pankow said. “We are not super spreaders, we are a healthy, safe environment, and we are doing our due diligence with keeping surfaces clean and having everyone follow all our safety protocols.”

Teachers in the school district have had to deal with a lot during the first and second quarters, juggling hybrid learning with worries of COVID, and in the case of MCHS English teacher Lance Scranton, coaching the varsity football team. Scranton however didn’t feel the effects of burnout as much as emotional exhaustion.

“I think everybody was a little bit emotionally exhausted, it was that kind of season,” Scranton said. “I wouldn’t say burned out, just emotionally exhausted for sure, no question about that.”

One of the biggest challenges that hybrid learning has presented teachers is not being able to track students and make sure that they are fully understanding the material presented to them.

“That’s really difficult as a teacher because you don’t get to monitor as much what the kids are doing and that makes it difficult, because you’re trying to teach kids concepts and things that they need to know and you don’t see them as often,” Scranton said. “So it’s hard to make sure that stuff is taking place.”

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