WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Last school year was anything but normal, with the many changes parents, students, faculty and staff had to adjust due to the pandemic.
While this upcoming school year doesn’t look the exact same as this time last year, many parents and students may still have some uncertainties about what the upcoming school year may hold.
As the Wichita Falls Independent School District prepares for the 2021-2022 school year, Superintendent Mike Kuhrt and Booker T. Washington Elementary’s Principal Angela Rooney are taking a look back and a look ahead.
“The most challenging part of the past year and a half or so was just navigating all the unknowns,” Kuhrt said. “We lived on about a two week window of this is the way it is today and two weeks later it would change.”
Although many safety practices and rules did change over the past year, one thing remains the same:
“Number one we kept our kids safe; our kids were safe, they were learning, they were having fun,” Rooney said. “Kids: they are resilient.”
Rooney says the past school year taught them a lot about what works for the district.
Students will still have to sanitize upon entry to schools, and social distancing guidelines will still be in place, but one major difference will be mask mandates.
“I think the most noticeable change you’re going to see this year is masks are optional, and I think everyone’s worried about that and concerned about that,” Kuhrt said. “We definitely encourage individuals who have not been vaccinated to wear a mask, and if you’re at all worried about it, wear a mask.”
After reviewing how students performed with the option of virtual learning last year, staff said being able to be back fully in-person is something they’re looking forward to.
“We already knew that the best place for students to be to get an education is in the school building,” Rooney said.
With many of the challenges of the past school year behind them, Kuhrt and Rooney want to assure parents and students that they are ready to tackle this school year.
“I think that parents and students in the district should be able to expect a year that’s going to be a lot like it was three years ago,” Kuhrt said.
“I feel so good. I’m so excited,” Rooney said. “I’m excited to have the kids back in the building, I’m excited to see our families at Back to School Night, and you know we all like routines, so we’re ready to get back at it. Our teachers are ready, and so it’s going to be a great school year. We’re back at it; we’re having school.”
Both Rooney and Kuhrt said they know making this year a success will be a team effort, and they are prepared to make it a memorable year.