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By Austin Crosier

Wednesday marked the anticipated yet nerve-wracking return to scho

ol for Granville Central School District during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

School superintendent Thomas McGurl’s attitude towards reopening for the 2020-2021 school year was described in two blunt and convincing words.

“Very confident,” he said via phone call on Wednesday.

After months of preparation, planning and deliberation on the best plan to proceed in accordance and cooperation with Washington County Department of Health guidelines, McGurl was anxiously excited as usual for the first day of school.

“It was great to see kids back in the building… and I saw a lot of compliance with the masks,” McGurl said.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were virtual learning days via Google Classroom for grades 8-12 while grades UPK-7 met in-person in a traditional yet distanced setting. All students were required to wear masks and bring an authorized health screening form with them.

Tuesday saw the return of in-person classes at Hartford Central School District.

Kim Bascom, mother of two children in the Granville schools, Lauren, ninth grade and Kaitlynn, fourth grade, spoke about her view on the re-opening process. Bascom said she was satisfied with the school officials’ level of communication.

“I think for the most part it was good,” Bascom said. “We got (sent) home several mailings with information from the school and saw updates they provided on social media.”

However, it wasn’t the same perspective for Ashley Bounds, the mother of a 5-year-old girl at Mary J Tanner School.

Bounds was disappointed with her realization on the first day of school that she would be unable to accompany her daughter and say goodbye. She discovered the news in a reply in the comments section of a “Welcome Back to School” post on the Granville CSD Facebook page.

“There wasn’t really any communication besides the bus schedule. I didn’t know ‘til this morning (Wednesday) that I couldn’t see my kid,” Bounds said. “I don’t know my kid’s schedule, what she will be doing, didn’t really meet teachers, didn’t know if I had to pack her a lunch or what, but I still did. It worries me as a parent because you want to know your kid is doing okay.”

Bounds was completely aware of the challenges the faculty and staff face due to COVID-19 but said she was curious to see what limitations are in place when it comes to stepping in and facilitating the daily struggles children may face.

“Teachers can’t do the normal things they usually do to help the kids,” she said. “My kid doesn’t know how to tie her own shoes yet, that’s why it worries me. I just wonder what the teachers do if they are in that situation where they need to help the kid.”

When notified of Bounds’ concerns, McGurl responded quickly over the phone with remedies to the situation.

“It’s (drop-off and school policies and procedures) clearly articulated in the back-to-school plan on the school website,” he said. McGurl added that if any individual, student or parent, has an issue, concern or question, they are more than welcome to “give a call” to McGurl himself.

McGurl mentioned on Wednesday the “amount of drop-off traffic at MJT” was his biggest concern of the day, as the cluster of cars piled out to Lee Road and Route 22. McGurl, along with other school officials are looking for ways to limit the congested traffic in a safe and efficient manner.

Both Bascom and Bounds established their top concerns were the health and safety of their children.

“As I’m sure any parent feels, we don’t want our girls to ever feel unsafe or scared at school. I think that if they are well informed and know that it’s ok to ask questions, they will be good,” Bascom said.

“We hope that everyone follows the rules and regulations so that this will all change sooner than later and we can somewhat get back to the way things used to be.”

Links and videos to the “Re-Opening 2020-2021 Plans” can be found at www.granvillecsd.org. Any questions can be asked to McGurl at [email protected]

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