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Ironton Elementary opens back up to different style of schooling

On Monday, Ironton school students returned to classes, facing a different situation than when they abruptly went to remote learning in March.

But at Ironton Elementary, a familiar masked man greeted them, the dark knight himself — Batman.
Or rather, Ironton Mayor Sam Cramblit, dressed in a Batman mask.

“Mayor Cramblit came down and appeared as Batman today,” said Ironton Elementary Principal Joe Rowe, adding the mayor was asked to appear as the caped crusader. “(Assistant principal David) Ashworth reached out to Mayor Cramblit, he’s quick to help out any way he can. He comes and speaks to groups here. It didn’t take much coercing, he jumped right in to help us. It was a big day for us and he did his part to make it a fun and enjoyable day.”

The students haven’t been in school since March 13, due to the COVID-19 pandemic when they switched over to remote learning. Rowe said the kids were glad to be back in school and see their friends again.

“They were excited for that and to meet their new teachers and their former teachers,” Rowe said. “And the teachers were happy to be back, too. It ended so quick in March, we really didn’t get to say goodbye. It was terrible, we ended the year with homework packets rather than face to face. So, yeah, it was an exciting day for everyone.”

The students will face a different situation than last year. Everyone entering the school gets their temperate taken, desks are separated for social distancing, there are marks in the hallway to remind people to social distance, most students stay in their homeroom and teachers go from classroom to classroom to teach different subjects and breakfasts and lunches are served in the classroom rather than in the cafeteria.

Rowe said while the students will spend most of the time in one classroom, they do let them move around a bit.
“We have a refresh period, where students can get up from their desk and move around and go onto the playground,” he said, but explained that they can’t let the kids get onto the equipment. “But we are getting them up and let the blood flow get moving.”

The students will still have physical education classes.

Rowe said they hope to have classes until spring.
“That is our number one goal. We think we have a good plan,” he said. “We will maintain social distancing at our greatest capacity and teach it and reinforce it constantly.”

Other school districts in Lawrence County are set to return to classes on Monday, Aug. 31.
Chesapeake has opted for all classes to do remote learning, while South Point will be doing a hybrid system, of in-person and remote learning, with groups of students alternating on days present in the building. The other districts are planning five days a week of in-person learning, Jeff Sanders, superintendent for the Lawrence County Educational Service Center, said.

“We’re hoping to be able to get things started,” Sanders said. “And the hope is that everybody gets to stay in.”
The Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School, a public school that operates independent of the school districts, returned to remote classes last week.

Sanders said countywide events sponsored by the ESC, are being reviewed.

The first of those are school-to-school Quiz Bowl matches. Sanders said the ESC is talking to schools and coaches and looking for creative ways they can possible take place with distanced rules.