Granville Central School District’s reopening on Sept. 9 has been a test of patience and will for all individuals involved.
“All of our staff, students, and parents are learning new ways of doing things, adjusting to the myriad of changes, and doing their best to make the most of the situation we find ourselves,” said school superintendent Thomas McGurl.
“Some of the initial concerns, such as mask use and social distancing, have not posed the level of problem that we anticipated. This is a real credit to our student body, their parents, and our staff. I believe everyone values being back to some semblance of a regular school, and largely, people want to protect that. Nobody wants to go back to where schools were last spring.”
Complications in any setting are almost unavoidable during COVID-19.
The junior-senior assistant principal, Daniel Poucher, explained in an instructional video to parents that changes would be made for the well-being of students and parents alike.
“Effective Wednesday, Sept. 30, you will enter the area from Church Street, in other words, you’ll just change the direction of traffic flow. This will bring you in the back where Bernardo’s restaurant used to be,” Poucher said.
“It will allow you to discharge your students on the side of the road that faces the school, and as you discharge them, they’ll be able to get straight out, they won’t have to cross (the) traffic pattern.”
McGurl said two problems regarding the parent drop-off at Granville Junior Senior High School have caused the school to call the audible.
“There were two safety issues at the JSHS. The first reason was by reversing the flow of traffic, the sun would not be in the driver’s eyes when dropping off,” McGurl said. “Secondly, the change in direction allowed students to get out of the car on the same side as the door, thereby not having to cross in front of traffic.”
McGurl’s top priority since the beginning of the coronavirus is, and has been, the safety of everyone involved. However, being able to see students walking in the hallways and making the most out of this opportunity is the reassurance he needed.
“What we are doing as a staff and as parents is taking on a very challenging set of circumstances and guidelines and figuring out in real-time how to reinvent education to make it work,” he said.
“Yes, it is a lot of work, and yes, I have gotten gray in the last six months, and yes, I worry about the “what if’s” nearly constantly, but when the kids walked back into the building September 9th, albeit in a modified format, it was worth it,” he said.
The higher purpose is magnified as motivation for McGurl.
“As I have said prior, what we are doing is not perfect, but is it an effort to make the best of a bad situation. It will be a very long year, and I am confident that there will continue to be obstacles that we will need to overcome,” McGurl said. “Still, our mission of providing a quality education for a generation of students in Granville, that did not ask for all this, has remained
unchanged and imperative. It is that higher purpose that keeps me going, along with a lot of coffee!”