WHITLEY COUNTY — With the first day of school for many Whitley County students just a few weeks away, teachers are already back in the classrooms organizing and preparing for a healthy start back.

Currently students in the Whitley County School District are scheduled to go back to school on Wednesday, August 26. Professional development training is already underway for all faculty and staff members.

Whitley County High School Counselor Britney Faulkner said staff members did the training in the building via Zoom after they got their temperatures checked and wore masks inside the building. Then teachers and staff went to their individual classrooms and participated in the professional development on Zoom

While Faulkner agreed that the back to school situation is fluid, she said the general consensus is that faculty and staff want to return to school with as normal of a scenario as possible.

Faulkner is working diligently on student schedules and that means both for students that are coming to school in-person and those that are choosing to opt-out and work online.

“Right now, I’m creating the online remote learning schedules for the students doing online learning,” Faulkner said. “We offer online learning, and we have for years, but setting this up is definitely a new challenge.”

Normally at this time Faulkner is typically just getting the kinks out, but this year she’s essentially planning a new pathway as far as scheduling goes.

There are approximately 1,000 students attending Whitley County High School this year and Faulkner said 15 percent will be learning online.

Parents and students are both anxious and excited about returning to school, said Faulkner. She’s been getting phone calls from anxious parents as well as parents excited to get their children back into school.

When the school year does begin, Faulkner said teachers and staff will be ready.

“At the district level they’ve done a really good job of communicating with the health department and getting us extra things that we need to do school as safely as we possibly can,” Faulkner said.

Faulkner said the overwhelming majority of staff is just excited to see students again.

“As teachers the abrupt change in March left us without students for the rest of the year—we miss them,” Faulkner said. “Even as a counselor, I miss seeing students. We’re just excited to see our students back.”

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