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HNS School is ready for a new school year amid the coronavirus

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HARTINGTON — The Hartington-Newcastle School is ready for the start of a new year — even though this year will look different than anything students and staff have ever seen before.

Supt. A.J. Johnson said a bus route has been added to alleviate a little bit of social distancing pressure.

Bus routes were also altered to make sure the bus will not contain too many kids to be able to properly social distance.

Johnson said another move to ease over-crowding in a COVID-19 world was the construction of two new classrooms where the high school library was.

Most of the work on the new classrooms will be complete before school starts Monday, he said. The only thing that won’t be finished on time is the installation of the doors to the classrooms.

Elementary School Principal Sarah Edwards told the HN School Board Monday that teachers have been meeting to discuss expectations of the beginning of the school.

“Teachers will prepare students for possible E-learning by incorporating technology and tasks that they would be asked to perform during E-learning should that take place,” she said.

Teachers have plans for Social Distancing in their classrooms, hallways, recess and lunch.

“The goal is to provide a safe place for students to learn,” she said.

Edwards said teachers will work to incorporate the lessons weekly, as well as adding in daily Buddy-up sessions that promote listening skills.

Teachers participated in Sanford Harmony training at the school July 28.

This program is a mental health program with a focus on social and emotional learning.

Open House will be different this year, as well. The Open House is being scheduled for kindergarten in small groups and new students will be contacted by teachers and Edwards to offer them a time to visit their classrooms before school begins Monday, Aug. 17.

Preschool begins Monday, Aug. 24 at both sites. Preschool teachers will be contacting parents the week before to give an opportunity for a classroom visit as well.

High School Principal Corey Uldrich said he met with teachers for two days in July to prepare for the start of this unique school year.

“The teachers had some really good ideas,” he said.

Also Monday, the Board agreed to raise the daily rate they pay substitute teachers. Substitutes will now earn $120 per day. Johnson said the raise was needed in order to be able to attract substitute teachers.

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