Miami Trace Local Schools resumed classes on Monday morning following an extended summer after districts across the state were closed due to COVID-19.
After a summer of various orders from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to help slow the spread of the virus, many decisions about whether to open were left up to local districts. Opting for a mostly traditional start, Miami Trace Superintendent Kim Pittser was pleased to see the students return.
“We gave a lot of ‘air fives’ and ‘air hugs’ today,” Pittser said via email in the afternoon. “Our greetings and protocols have changed somewhat for 2020 first day of school, but the bottom line is that it was so awesome to officially start our school year with students. We had the opportunity to see our students in-person, and we are thankful. In addition, we are conducting our Panther Virtual Academy orientation this week for students who selected the special online option. Using our platforms and communicative methods, we look forward to connecting with our PVA students next week (Aug. 31).”
As of the first of day of school, Miami Trace is preparing to teach approximately 16 percent (or 428 out of 2,600) of the student population in the district’s special online program — the Panther Virtual Academy.
At the Miami Trace Elementary School, principal Justin Lanman responded earlier in the day via email and said he still had to get students home, but was very pleased with the beginning of his school year.
“At this point of the school day, we have successfully transitioned students to campus and into their classrooms,” Lanman said. “We have completed all lunch services, and have done so in an efficient and safe manner. Students have done a fantastic job adjusting to the new expectations. Everyone has seemingly enjoyed wearing their masks during the day. Parents and families have been creative with the masks they have provided for their children, and it has contributed to a fun return. The staff has worked extremely hard in preparation, and today we have seen the fruits of their labor. We couldn’t have hoped for a better start.”
For Miami Trace High School Principal Bryan Sheets, this was an excellent start to the year thanks to the hard work of staff members.
“I thought that Miami Trace High School had a very good start to the 2020-21 school year,” Sheets said via a phone interview Monday evening. “Students and staff were diligent in wearing masks and following the social distancing procedures. We appreciate all of the support from the community, students and staff here for preparing for these difficult times and working through what has been dealt to them. We look forward to continuing to do great things here at Miami Trace High School. Being a first year principal under these circumstances is tough, but first I want to commend my staff — we have a wonderful staff here who are willing to step up and do what is needed. Secondly it feels good to see kids back at school, the last time we had kids in the building was I think March 13th, so it’s a wonderful opportunity and I know it was great to see the kids again.”
For more information or questions, Pittser has encouraged parents and guardians to contact their child’s building as well as check the district’s website for continual updates.
“We want to extend much gratitude to our board of education, staff, students, and families,” Pittser said. “From the inception of the Miami Trace Task Force to devise return to school plans, we emphasized the importance of everyone being flexible and supportive. All of these groups have cooperated in doing so, and we could not have asked for a better start. Working together, we can make this a promising school year.”
The information in this article was provided by Miami Trace Local Schools. Stay with the Record-Herald for more coverage of the school year and any state orders that may impact education.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.