COVID in schools: 'We need them in the building'

Virus Outbreak
Posted at 5:00 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 17:46:43-04

CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A second-grade teacher at Shearer Elementary School in Clark County, Cathy Schwendeman, has been educating young minds for 14 years.

This pandemic, though, has been unlike anything she's ever experienced.

"It was very challenging," Schwendeman said.

Now that kids are, for the most part, back in the building she said it's been wonderful.

"It's nice," she said. "It's very nice. These kids love being in the classroom."

She said especially at this elementary school age, it's really beneficial for these kids to be in person with their teachers and peers.

"I think they are just so much happier being in person than they were at home," she said.

As an elementary school teacher for two decades, Principal Kevin Kennedy, values in-person instruction as well.

"I know just how important that hands-on approach is to teaching," he said. "It's tremendously difficult to try to teach in a remote setting or in any kind of virtual way. We need them in the building if we can keep them in the building and we're doing everything we possibly can to make sure that that happens."

That means daily temperature checks, social distancing, and of course, masking up.

But they said it's all worth it to be in the building. In fact, the kids adapted better than some may think.

"They have done really well," Schwendeman said. "Yes, they really have. I'm surprised how well they've done. I think they do better than adults!"

While she said it's sad she can't see their faces, it's what she believes is necessary to keep them safe. It's a sacrifice so they can be in the classroom catching up-- she said kids are behind academically and maybe socially too.

"Sometimes it seems like they are, I don't want to say more sensitive to things, but they're just not used to as much activity with other kids outside like they were before."

No matter how hard it gets, however, she's sticking with it.

"This is the future of the United States or Clark County or Winchester and we gotta make it the best we can make it for them," she said.

So for now she will be teaching the future generation every day at Shearer Elementary, all while hoping the pandemic and the restrictions that come with it come to an end soon.

While Clark County is still in the red, the school district has managed to keep its COVID-19 numbers low. Across the board, the number of students in isolation and quarantine is fewer than 4% of the total population.