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Leaders at Logansport Schools feel more prepared for second semester during pandemic

LCSC welcomed back students on Tuesday. There isn't exactly a rule book on operating a public school corporation during a global pandemic, but the lessons learned from the first semester are helping make this second semester feel less daunting.

Posted: Jan 5, 2021 8:35 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2021 8:34 PM

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) - The Logansport Community School Corporation welcomed students back to the classroom after the holiday break on Tuesday.

The last time News 18 talked with LCSC Superintendent Michele Starkey, there was a lot of questions, concerns and unknowns before them as they went back to school in August. There isn't exactly a rule book on operating a public school corporation during a global pandemic, but the lessons learned from the first semester are helping make this second semester feel less daunting.

"It was tiring it was stressful and it continues to be that," said Starkey.

Logansport Community School Corporation made it through the first semester in a COVID-19 world relatively unscathed.

"When we started the school year, if anybody had said we were going to make it through the semester I would have laughed," she said. "My glass is always half full, but it was touch and go for quite some time."

The constant message from Logansport schools is the same as many others: wear your mask, wash your hands and social distance. And it seemed to work.

Like other school corporations, they found the spread and contraction of the virus in the schools was low. Most of the cases were brought from the outside in. 

Starkey their cases in K-6th grades stayed low all semester even as they were in fully in-person learning. They moved the 7th-12th grade students to a hybrid schedule mid semester. Starkey said this helped lessen the anxiety of the students about spreading the virus and gave teachers more stability in dealing with quarantining students. 

Thanks to lots of rolling with the COVID-punches, Superintendent Starkey said their case numbers weren't debilitating.

"It was far below whatever I thought it would be for students," she said. "The great thing to know is that everything we did mitigation wise kept kids and staff from contracting the virus at school."

Flexibility and strong communication with the public are valuable lessons they are bringing with them into the new semester.

The vast majority of junior-senior high students who were fully virtual learning are now back at school, and feel comfortable with the hybrid schedule. Only a handful of students are still on fully virtual learning due to medical concerns.

"You do have a sense of, ok we've been through the first semester, we made changes on the fly and so just knowing that we were able to successfully do that gives you that confidence going forward," she said.

And she couldn't be more proud of how her Berries are doing. The school district is celebrating an important milestone this year: 150 years of the Logansport High School. She said surviving this pandemic will be a part of the LCSC history they will one day look back on with pride.

"We will someday look back on this and say wow look at everything we did during these hard times," she said. "And we did it for our students and I think that just says a lot about the people within our district. And I think it says a lot about people in public education period."

Starkey said the hope of the vaccine coming is what's keeping them going. The plan at LCSC is to continue with hybrid learning through Spring Break for the older grades. They will re-evaluate then and decide if it's safe to finish the year with fully in-person learning.

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