Transitioning to Today

Yukon High School returns to the classroom


Conner Carlow, Staff Writer

On Monday, Sept.21, Yukon High School welcomed students back into the classroom for the first time in approximately 195 days through social distancing, new policies, and masks after a journey of virtual learning.

Originally, Superintendent Jason Simeroth said in a video to the public that in order for Yukon Public Schools to consider going back, cases per capita in Canadian County must reach and stay below 10 percent  positive cases per capita for two weeks to consider going back to school.

Around the week of Sept.1, Canadian County dropped to below a 10 percent positivity rate and stayed below the threshold for the following weeks allowing the Yukon Board of Education to consider going back to school. On Sept.8, The school board voted four to one to return to the classroom.

“It’s a gut-wrenching experience when you have to decide the fate of young people and the communities,” Simeroth said in an interview with KFOR.

The Continuous Learning Plan Frequently Asked Question document was updated to say the decision for a school closure will be determined by a multitude of factors which are but may not be limited to: guidance and directives from local and state authorities; the number of teachers absent; number of students absent; the district’s ability to disinfect all facilities in a safe and effective manner, including the availability of supplies and inventory; the number of students in a class/program/site who are subject to quarantine or isolation; and the risk level in Canadian County as determined by the Color-Coded COVID-19 Alert System.

“We’re people people, we’re humans, we have families,” Simeroth said. “We ask for patience, grace, mercy and understanding that we’re doing the best we can and we’re doing it for the sake of the students.”

Specifically to the High School, If the number of required substitutes exceeds 15, the school will consider a shut down. Additionally, if the number of staff absences exceeds 25 percent, a transition back to Continuous Learning will be discussed, according to the district.

“I was kinda nervous to go back,” Freshman Landon McCoy said. “We didn’t and still don’t know how things are going to play out.”

Classroom seating now includes a mandatory group seating chart to limit the amount of exposure to each student in the classroom and allow administrators to contact trace. Additionally, students and staff will be required to wear masks at all times within the building.

“I have to admit that my mask is not my friend, and I struggle with trying to teach with it,” English Teacher Holly Green said. “But I do understand the importance of wearing it, and I will continue to make adjustments to make it work.”

In the event a student tests positive, anyone who has been deemed to be in close contact, less than six feet apart for 15 minutes or more within 48 hours of symptoms, is subject to a 14 day quarantine period. 

  “I honestly don’t know how students will continue if they are quarantined,” forensics teacher Courtney Scott said when students returned. “That’s basically 14 days with no contact with your teacher or anyone you know to help you. By the time you get back, you could be up to a month behind on whatever we discussed in class.”

There is still a debate if the right decision was made and if the district is doing enough to protect students and faculty, while simultaneously providing the best educational experience.

“I think in every situation there will be positives and negatives, and as a teacher, I try to focus on the positive,” Green said.  “At the end of the day,  the world may be different and my classroom may be different, but I am proud to be a teacher; I love my job and my students, and I will continue to do whatever, wherever, or however I can to teach my students the best way I can.”