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SCHOOL - "Mask up: School is back in session for Box Elder County"

BOX ELDER COUNTY – By Cari Doutre – September 2, 2020

Photo courtesy of Gayle Profaizer

When students in Box Elder County entered schools on Monday, August 31, it was something teachers and staff members have not seen in over five months – students.

For over 170 days, schools were dismissed to students for traditional in-class learning throughout the entire state. Officially, the last day students in Box Elder School District attended class was on Friday, March 13, 2020. That was the day Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced that all public schools in Utah would be dismissed for two weeks due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns.

Those two weeks turned into months.

On July 15, 2020, Box Elder School District presented their “Return to Learn Plan” for the 2020-21 school year. Read’s previously posted article for more information on that plan HERE.

With their “Return to Learn Plan” in place, the 2020-21 school year started as scheduled for Box Elder School District – only with minimum days for students during the first two weeks. Students will resume full day learning on September 14.

Three days into the new school year, students in Box Elder School District are learning to adapt to a “new normal” - which includes a long list of state guidelines and mandates that must be met for the safety of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among those state guidelines are mandatory face masks for students, teachers, staff and visitors – by far the most controversial mandate issued by the state.

At Bear River High School, the adjustment to that mandate has been smooth and administrators are reporting that the atmosphere at the school is one of positivity and excitement.

“Kids are coming to school eager to be here,” said AJ Gilmore, Bear River High School Principal.

“Masks are annoying and cumbersome at times, but kids are wearing them and following the governor’s mandate. I believe they recognize that they are able to be in school, have activities, dances, sports, everything the school offers and part of that cost is wearing a mask,” he added.

In the end, Gilmore looks at the benefits are having schools back in session.

“As a school staff, we recognize the frustrations with the mask but also recognize that this mandate is allowing us to be in school," Gilmore said.

"At the end of the day it’s worth wearing a mask to not miss out on everything school is for our kids, family and community,” Gilmore added. opted not to take pictures of students on the first day of school in order to create less stress for teachers and staff at local schools. Sometimes the last thing people need is a pesky reporter hanging around!

Instead, we politely asked a few schools if we could repost pictures they posted on social media. Pictures posted below were taken on Monday, August 31. They are courtesy of Alice C. Harris Intermediate School, North Park Elementary School and Fielding Elementary School. has full permission to publish these pictures.


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