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The first day of school seemed to have gone off without a hitch.

Going against Kittitas County Public Health Department recommendations that schools begin the year online, the Kittitas School District started the year with students in the buildings. According to KSD Superintendent Mike Nollan, it was a good day, where teachers and students rallied and did a good job.

KSD is using a hybrid learning model, where half of their students attend class in-person Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other half attends Wednesdays and Thursdays. The groups alternate who attends Fridays. Students who are not attending class in-person are doing so through remote education. This model keeps students distant, while providing them with in-person education.

Nollan said the district did have some “glitches” with the online program, but nothing too serious. He said they should have them tweaked fairly soon.

One of the larger glitches was the health screening program the district is using. The program requires families to verify their students’ health before sending them to school. The program is online and can be used through a phone, but it wasn’t working for the first day of school.

“The idea is if you are sick you stay home, but the program wasn’t working well,” Nollan said. “So we had to do it all by hand.”

This meant the district had to take the temperatures of all students, and ask them questions about their health, such as “how are you feeling,” and “have you been around anyone who is sick?”

According to Nollan, everyone did a great job of following the COVID-19 safety rules that have been put in place. Students, staff and even parents wore masks and kept a safe distance. He said it was easier with the hybrid model because they only had half the kids for the day. It was also a half day, with students getting out at 12:30 p.m.

“They all had their masks on even out on the playground,” Nollan said. “They have learned to physically distance. We are doing our best to get kids outside as much as we can, too.”

There was one student who was reported as not bringing a mask, but Nollan said the district was able to provide one.

“I’m just really proud of the kids and I’m proud of the parents, really rallying, wearing the masks being good role models,” Nollan said. “Our staff of parents and teachers had to rally to the screening problem, and they did. I think it was a team effort by everybody and we will be successful by us just being vigilant with the masks, the hand washing and the physical distancing. I think that’s what is going to keep us in school.”

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