Washington County schools have done it right

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Last March, as Blair Community Schools (BCS) let out for spring break, it would unknowingly be the last time students were in classrooms. The remainder of the 2019-20 school year was spent distance learning.

BCS, Arlington Public Schools and Fort Calhoun Community Schools, like those across the country, faced sudden shutdowns in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

A year later, all three Washington County school districts have seen students return to the classroom by mitigating risks with social distancing, hand washing and mask mandates.

While each district has had students and staff members test positive for COVID-19 in the last year, none have had the numbers administrators had initially feared. The districts have remained open as students, staff and administrators adapted.

And because of their hard work, students are also getting to see a bit more “normalcy” as activities that were canceled a year ago.

A year after the NSAA canceled spring sports, student athletes are back on the track, the baseball diamond, the golf course and the tennis courts. State tournaments and meets are expected to return and the athletes are ready to make up for what they lost.

“I'm probably overexcited I would say,” BHS senior sprinter Abby Osborn told the Enterprise earlier this month. “I've been looking forward to this season, I guess, since the end of sophomore year.”

Last weekend, Fort Calhoun High School hosted prom and post prom for the first time since the 2018-19 school year.

Principal Nick Wemhoff said the students' diligence through the year, through social distancing, mask-wearing and sanitizing, allowed prom to commence.

“I give credit to the kids second semester for following the rules,” he said. “We had a plan, and it worked and we've been in school all year.”

Following the cancellation of last year's prom, Wemhoff said it felt “wonderful” to have students enjoy the night.

“These kids deserve it,” he said. “This is what high school is about — all the experiences.”

Arlington High School students recently performed their musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” while Blair High School will present “Oklahoma!” in April.

Washington County schools have done it right to get through the pandemic. Administrators, teachers and students should be commended for their efforts to stay in school in the face of adversity.

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