GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Today the Grants Pass School District announced that first-grade students will return to full-time, in-person instruction after spring break.
Susan Zottola, director of elementary education, says they’ve mapped out the square footage in every classroom to determine how many students are allowed in each one.
From custodians to teachers and principals, she says the whole process was a team effort.
“Our principals and teachers are rock stars and they just got in there and physically did it," Zottola said. "They're moving desks around, the custodians are helping. So, every room we know exactly how many bodies can fit in a way that really supports the best instructional practices that we have.”
Zottola says their goal has always been to have as many kids experience in-person education as possible.
“Seeing school buses run, seeing kids walking around, hearing the whistles blowing for soccer and football on the football field – it actually makes me emotional and, you know, that's why we all got in this business,” Zottola said. “No matter if you are a principal, if you're a teacher, if you're a bus driver – we're here because we want to support kids. So, having kids back is what feeds our souls and makes the work worth it.”
The district decided to start with the first-grade level because it’s their most critical ages for literacy development.
Zottola says if that transition happens successfully, then they will add second grade.
She says between now and the first day of classes, they’ll be reaching out to families and informing them on how the logistics will work.
The district is also working on hiring another teacher so that they can have full-time classes.