Jardine Middle School welcomes students back to in-person classes

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 5:46 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Jardine Middle School welcomed back its full student body Monday, although not all at once.

It is a system that’s in place at middle and high schools in Topeka Public Schools.

Students are divided into morning and afternoon groups and some choose to remain remote.

Of Jardine’s 540 students, 200 attend in the morning, 200 go to class in the afternoon and 140 are remote.

Those remote students learn along the morning group.

Ben Esau, a seventh and eighth grade computer applications teacher, said the environment provides him the opportunity to experience the type of classroom he’d spent years building.

“I have a better read on the students if they can understand the concepts if I need to reteach something they’re more likely to ask for questions ask for help in person than they are on the internet over Zoom,” he said.

“It gives me a chance to kind of gauge better what is my work looking like what am I getting out of it are they understanding what I’m trying to teach.”

The district said using smaller groups allows for in-person learning while keeping students safely distanced.

Eighth grade student Zahra Lewis said being back in class gives her the feeling of normalcy she missed over the past several months.

“It makes me feel relieved because none of this really felt real when it first happened so it’s just reassuring that we can come back and see each other,” she said.

“When you’re in school you’re actually present and it’s easier to ask questions and talk to the teacher.”

Esau said there’s still much to uncover in the hybrid learning system, but he, too, is ready to keep learning.

“I hope to gain a lot of valuable knowledge on how to teach in an environment like this in case this ever happens again and if it does we’ll be better prepared for it so I’m looking at this as an opportunity to better myself as a teacher.”

The system launched for all Topeka Public Schools at the middle and high school levels.

Buildings are closed Wednesdays for cleaning but students still have remote check-ins.

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