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Westside Schools move towards 100% capacity

Posted at 10:16 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 23:18:12-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Westside Middle School and Westside High School kicked off the year at 25% capacity.

It’s been successful with zero students and just two staff testing positive for COVID-19.

This week, the district is moving to 50% capacity with the goal of having 100% of students back by September 18.

Westside School District started out with a hybrid model to limit the number of students in the classroom. But Vice President of the Board of Education Doug Krenzer says with just two positive cases district-wide, it's time to move more kids back in buildings.

“We look at those factors and then make a decision knowing having kids in school is the best thing if health circumstances permit,” said Krenzer.

Krenzer says it's a transition from 25% to 50% to 100% by September 18th.

Krenzer adds by moving the high school and middle school to 50%, it does mean more work for teachers.

"Not only do they have to manage their classrooms, now they have to manage what their students are doing when they are not there with them. They are relying on parents or grandparents or caregivers to supplement what they are not able to do with them in person. We are asking frankly far too much of teachers,” said Krenzer.

Brandi Paul, Director of Communications and Engagement for Westside Community Schools says the district has been planning for all scenarios, adding they are prepared to go backwards if outbreaks occur.

"We don't know what next week is going to bring. Ms. Blakely, one of our board members, said what happens if we have a twin-demic where we are dealing with the flu and COVID at the same time?" said Paul.

Twenty percent of the district chose to do all remote learning at the start of the year. Krenzer says this will help with social distancing as they bring more students back.