Student, longtime teacher share thoughts on returning to school amid COVID-19 concerns

Longtime teacher and senior share perspective on returning to school following holiday COVID-19 conc

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - Many schools are back in session after the holiday break, but there is a concern for a spike in COVID-19 cases.

For Walnut Ridge and many schools in the area, officials said flexibility matters more than ever this second semester.

A longtime teacher in the district and a senior said Monday they’re going to be extra cautious so they can stay COVID-free after the holidays.

“I hope all the kids are safe and all the teachers are safe and that we all get to come back so that we can continue with the kid’s education,” said Dyan Heard, federal coordinator of the district and an educator for more than 35 years.

Heard said she never experienced anything that has affected the district quite like COVID-19 has.

“Wouldn’t have even dreamed that it would’ve happened this year also,” Heard said.

Nearly a year after the pandemic began, she said teachers are doing the best they can to keep their students safe.

“We just got an excellent staff here that works hard together,” Heard said. “We’re trying to keep up with the guidelines and doing the best for the students.”

The majority of the students at Walnut Ridge also adopted this mentality. Senior Hannah Harper said she wants to have as much of her senior year in-person as possible.

“Our school has helped us make the most of it,” she said. “Personally, us seniors have tried to make the most of it, and we take the precautions that need to be taken.”

While Harper expressed concern about a potential spike in COVID-19 cases after the holidays, she remains confident in her classmates and the faculty to make the right decisions.

“I know that there probably have been some holiday events taking place,” Harper said. “You have to know that you need to take the precautions needed. If you feel sick, stay home.”

While she’s glad to be back at school, she hopes everyone takes the necessary steps to stay in-person.

“They’re doing the best job that they can do,” Heard said. “They’re having a new learning curve, they’re having to learn this new software and stuff that we’re having to do with these kids daily. We’re here for these kids, and we want the best for them.”

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