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A Year in Review: Pottawatomie County schools adapt to COVID-19, finish construction projects in 2020

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Shawnee Public School students wore masks and socially distanced throughout this year to stay safe against COVID-19.
North Rock Creek and Pleasant Grove Public Schools built safe rooms this year. Provided Photos.

This year was like no other as various Pottawatomie County schools adapted to COVID-19 and completed various construction projects.  

Like several schools throughout the county, school districts in Pottawatomie County including Shawnee, Bethel, McLoud, Dale, Tecumseh and many more were forced to finish their Spring semester teaching and learning from home to due to the pandemic.  

Many seniors didn't have traditional graduation ceremonies or finish out their senior year like normal due to the pandemic.  

However, several districts held virtual graduation ceremonies and drive-by graduation parades to give seniors the opportunities to celebrate their final moments in high school.  

Following the end of the school year, many districts used the summer to prepare for the Fall semester.  

Several districts acquired funding for additional technology and learning programs to better equip students for virtual and distance learning.  

Schools developed plans for students in which they good stay at home and learn virtually, continue their education in person or do a mixture of both.  

A majority of students at all districts chose to return to in-person instruction and the districts developed safety protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Those protocols included the requirement of masks, social distancing, temperature checks and surveys to determine if anyone had contracted the virus.  

If people did contract the virus they were sent home to quarantine and could return when they had a negative COVID-19 test.  

Due to exposure to the virus school districts had to shut down their entire campus or parts of it because there were too many teachers or students in quarantine. 

Many districts closed their campuses and went to complete distance learning a week before Thanksgiving to contain outbreaks as positive case numbers increased in the county and the state.  

Several schools will return to school after Christmas break for next semester at the beginning of January and may continue to offer both in-person and distance learning or may go to complete distance learning depending on the status of the pandemic.  

Throughout the pandemic all districts have offered some sort of free meal plan to ensure all students receive a meal. 

While the pandemic changed various aspects of the school year for school districts many of them completed construction projects.  

Those construction project include a new 5,000 square foot safe room in North Rock Creek Elementary School and a safe room in Pleasant Grove Public Schools.