Good start to Yuma returning to in-school education

Yuma students returned to the classroom for first time in more than five months, when the 2020-21 school year began Monday with in-person learning.
“(It) was great having our students back in the building,” Yuma High School Principal Brady Nighswonger told the Pioneer. “You could tell there was some excitement in the air, just being able to get us all back together.”

Obviously, there were several new protocols in place, including all students age 10 and above wearing masks, along with all staff, and students and staff at YHS and Yuma Middle School being temperature checked as they entered the buildings.
Parents, or any visitor, are not allowed inside the school buildings.
“The students were wonderful about wearing masks and keeping up with our new staggered schedule,” YMS Principal Brenda Kloberdanz said. “Overall it was pretty smooth and great to be back!”

Students and parents head toward the main entrance to Morris Elementary, Monday morning. (Pioneer Photo)

Nighswonger said temperature checking the students as the entered the school went faster than expected. Nobody had to be turned away because of having a high reading, or not having a mask.
“Our students were awesome following COVID guidelines and mask requirements,” Nighswonger said. “…There are always things to improve on, and we do have some things to iron out as we continue. Outside of a few things, it really didn’t feel too much out of the ordinary.”
Morris Elementary School Principal Keri Chapman also reported a positive return to in-person schooling.
“Staff and students are all excited to be back in the building together, and so far, everything has gone smoothly,” she told the Pioneer.
Chapman also credited the kitchen staff for the work they have done getting lunches made and delivered to the classrooms, as MES has opened in the Yellow Phase in regards to lunch time, keeping the students in their rooms.
Yuma-1 students have the option of utilizing synchronous remote learning from home, attending classes in real time utilizing a laptop, or do online schooling through Colorado Digital Learning Services (CDLS).
Kloberdanz reported that several students decided after Monday that the synchronized learning was not for them, and returned for in-person instruction on Tuesday.
There reportedly are some wifi issues within the buildings thanks to all the devices now being used. District IT Director Brandi Clarkson-Rahe told the Pioneer Tuesday that she is assessing the situation and will have a better feel for the challenges after the first week of school is completed.
All in all, the reports were very positive coming out of the Yuma schools after classes have finally resumed.
Yuma High School students eat lunch under the shade of a tree on campus, Tuesday, September 1, 2020. (Pioneer Photo)
“I really have to give our staff credit for the job they have been having to do all the way back since March,” Nighswonger said. “They continue to stay positive and rise to the challenge no matter what that might be.”
“It is so good to be back at school in person,” Chapman said. “We’ll continue to do all we can to stay open in person for as long as we can!”

Kiss and Go
Superintendent Dianna Chrisman, and Chapman, addressed the completely revamped drop-off area in front of Yuma Middle School and Morris Elementary School.
School buses now drop off students on the west side of the schools, leaving the Elm St. side just for students being dropped off by vehicle or walking to school.
There was definitely plenty of activity along Elm St. Monday morning as hundreds of students were dropped off for the first day. Chapman noted it was a little crowded and slow on Monday as most parents drop-off and pick-up their students on the first day. However, she said the process went faster on Tuesday.
Chrisman said that overall the drop off and pick went well for the first day.
“We are making minor adjustments to help the flow of traffic and clarity of expectations,” she told the Pioneer.
She asked that those dropping off students to help out by only using the designated lanes, not other unmarked areas.
“We have some additional curb painting and signage planned to help mark areas that should not be used,” Chrisman reported.
Those dropping off students also are asked to please pull all the way forward in the lanes, and please do not block any crosswalk areas.
If parking across the street, everyone should only cross the street at the crosswalks, including adults coming to pick up students after school.
One last thing for the drop-off, pick-up area — if your child is not outside yet when you go to pick them up, please drive around and return so as not to back up the line for other vehicles. Chrisman likened it to passenger pick-up at the airport, if your passenger is not there and ready, you drive around.