XENIA — The excitement is building for the first day of school at the new Greene County Career Center.
While it may not be the first day in the new facility that many imagined, the coronavirus will not dampen the culmination of the four-plus years of work it took to get there.
As he listens to reactions from parents, students and teachers as they step foot into the new building, Superintendent Dave Deskins can’t help but be optimistic for the first day of school.
“We expect excitement,” he said.
Juniors will visit the new facility in the coming days to familiarize themselves with the new 264,000-square-foot layout, while many seniors have already toured.
” … they have been extremely excited by the quality design of the building as well as the industrial, but modest modern appearance,” Deskins said. “The parents who have toured have been very generous with their praise. Our teachers have been moving in the last few weeks and they are overjoyed with their instructional space and access to technology. We are so thankful to our county residents for allowing our students this opportunity.”
Like other districts in the county, Deskins said GCCC administration spent the summer planning for the school year — and adjusting each time the COVID-19 situation changed. Coupled with the final weeks of construction and a move of 10 semi-trailers from the old campus to the new, the summer was far from normal.
But staff members will strive to keep the school year as normal as possible for their students, which is particularly important in a career-technical atmosphere.
“We’re a hands-on school,” Deskins explained. “Welders learn by welding. Hair stylists learn by cutting hair. Nurses learn by building trust and serving patients. We need our students ‘physically present’ in the building to the get the necessary hours of training for various certifications. Our strength is that ‘experiential instruction’ that students can take out into the workforce.”
A hybrid plan will allow students to receive all of their career-technical instruction in their designated labs, while lowering the number of people in the building at one time. Juniors will be in the school one day, then seniors the next. On days when students are not in the building, they will receive online instruction from their academic teachers.
“This will allow us to isolate students by their career-technical program should an outbreak of multiple Covid cases occur,” Deskins said, adding that students in other unaffected labs could continue instruction.
Juniors will report for their first day on Tuesday, Aug. 25 and seniors on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
Although many will have had a sneak peek, the day will still be full of a whole lot of new.
Before they leave their homes, students will self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms. Partner school districts will provide busing for students who need it as usual.
“We will have temperature monitors at the main entrance for all students to pass through upon entering the building in efforts of preventing folks who may be sick from entering the population,” Deskins added.
Breakfast and lunch will be available for purchase or pick-up each day.
All will wear masks, wash hands in labs, and sanitize at stations throughout the building, and follow traffic flow by walking on the right side of hallways and stairs.
With labs separated and safety measures in place, 730 juniors and seniors from all over the county will still get their chance at hands-on career technical learning in a brand new state-of-the-art facility next week.
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