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End of Summer

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Hartington area schools will start classes Aug. 17

HARTINGTON — If school were to start tomorrow, Sarah Edwards would be ready.

Don’t get her wrong. She enjoys her summer break but when August hits, she’s ready for the school year to start.

“I’m just excited to get the kids back in the building,” said the Hartington-Newcastle Elementary School Principal. “It’s kind of boring without them. All this planning and I’m ready to get them back.”

Students at both the public and parochial schools at Holy Trinity Elementary and Cedar Catholic High School will return to school Tuesday, Aug. 17. The first day will dismiss at 2 p.m.

Hartington-Newcastle’s 4-year-old preschool will start Monday, Aug. 23, Edwards said.

Public elementary school students who have been looking forward to a new playground will have to wait a bit longer.

Edwards said materials have been delayed for a new playground structure she had hoped to have installed and ready for student’s return to school.

The current playground structure is about 30 years old.

“It’s hung in there well,” she said. “But we’re not able to order parts for it anymore that match. It’s lasted a long time and hopefully, it’ll be the same for this new structure.”

The new structure will include new slides and climbing play areas. The playground may have to shut down in order to accommodate installation when the structure arrives - hopefully in a few weeks, Edwards said.

“We will adjust and come up with a plan to deal with that,” she said.

Other than that delay, Edwards said she’s looking forward to a smooth start with no major changes to school policies or procedures.

Cedar Catholic Jr.-Sr. High School Principal Chris Uttecht said the school will go back to a start time of 8 a.m. instead of 7:55 a.m., but there are no other major changes.

He said prepping for the 2021-22 school year has been easier compared to last year.

Along with regular prep, the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic threw all teachers and administrators a curveball. Having been through it for a full academic year helps, but Utrecht said the school will remain flexible.

The plan is for students to return to school without the requirement of wearing masks, he said.

“It could change by the first day of school, though,” he said.

Edwards said masks were not included in the back to school supply list for public school students, either.

Both Uttecht and Edwards said the schools will follow the guidelines set by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Just like last year, students will be able to eat school breakfast and lunch for free as part of the federal COVID relief package.

Implemented with the COVID-19 pandemic for last academic year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has allowed local school districts to provide no-cost meals to all enrolled students.

Currently, the NSAA will not be restricting attendance at fall sports, Uttecht said.

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