by Maddi Anderson, Construction Framing & Finishing Technology
“In my twelve years of being a dean; this year has been the most challenging,” said Scarlet Oaks Dean Dan Rush. The biggest obstacle he faces during remote/hybrid learning caused by Covid is constantly trying to satisfy everyone as in parents, students, staff, and the district needs while at the same time keeping students safe.
Scarlet Oaks, one of four campuses in the Great Oaks district, includes thirty-five home and affiliate schools who must be kept in the loop. Satisfying this wide-spread district, students, staff and parents has not been easy for him, but he’s made a middle ground for everyone. Although students are returning to school five days a week for in-person classes in the fourth quarter, Rush has made some accommodations for parents and students who prefer to continue out the school year online.
During the beginning of the pandemic the school split students into two different groups, group A and group B. Students alternated between school days meaning every other day with Wednesdays being fully remote on Zoom. The days that students didn’t attend in-person learning they had mandatory zoom meetings with their academic teachers. If the pandemic were ever to occur again, there would be different schedule options and better teacher-student relationships, according to Rush. We learn from experience.
With the newest change for students returning to five days a week, Rush is expecting the first weeks to be rocky, but has hope that the return will be an experience that finds some sense of normalcy. This return will be just like students starting their first day of school, students scrambling trying to find their classes and forgetting locker combinations. The biggest difference from this year compared to past years is students will return to school with masks and practice social distancing to the best of their abilities. Many smaller classrooms have had accommodations made to ensure safe social distancing.
Graduation, school dances, recognitions, Skills USA, and the students are just some of the activities Rush has missed the most since the pandemic swept them away. Without those activities, especially the presence of the students, the year has just felt very much empty. With at least the return of the students there will be some normalcy returning to the hallways of Scarlet.
Mentally the pandemic along with the school year has taken a toll on everyone. “It’s been difficult, but I’m personally okay, the pandemic hasn’t affected me as much as it has others. I know people whose loved ones passed and were affected much worse than I could imagine. This is a challenging and difficult time for all of us and we’re working to keep everyone safe as change continues to happen,” says Rush. Amid the new changes Dean Dan Rush is still working to keep everyone safe and accommodate anyone with concerns. He is Scarlet’s fearless, tireless, superhero!