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LPS optimistic as students head back to the classroom

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 8:45 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 9:23 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - LPS students head back to school this week and as students , as well as faculty prepare for the upcoming school year, 10/11 NOW spoke with superintendent, Dr. Steve Joel, about his expectations for the upcoming school year.

A word that Dr. Joel used often was optimism. After such a difficult year last year when there was so much unknown, faculty and staff are going into this year with much higher expectations.

“We know what we are dealing with, we developed a 600 page plan a year ago that was a heavy plan and we tried to anticipate everything that happened and there was no playbook,” Dr. Joel said, “We invented everything, but our plan is about 12 to 13 pages now and it’s constantly being revised so we know so much more about this. Have faith in our plan, let’s try and make this as normal as we can for our students, they’re going to have a great experience, and we’re going to get through this together.”

Dr. Joel also said there will not be a remote learning option for LPS students, so minimizing outbreaks is very important this school year.

One of the biggest topics of discussion for LPS staff and parents is masks. Students Pre-K through sixth grade will be required to wear masks. Older students who are already eligible for the vaccine, seventh through twelfth, will not be required to wear masks. When 10/11 NOW spoke with Dr. Joel, he said this is still a fluid situation.

“I’m responsible for 50,000 human beings and I have to make the best decision that I can for them because we’re going to live with those decisions and I’m always going to air on the side of safety,” Dr. Joel said, “It’s better to be too safe than to be less safe. The best plan right now is to require masks with the understanding that we’re going to evaluate it every week and if we can get out of these masks because public health doctors and specialists feel like we made some progress, we want to get out of them as soon as possible.”

LPS said that they are constantly in contact with local health officials on their mask decision making process.

As a reminder to parents, LPS has a detailed dashboard of cases, as well as their list of procedures. If at any point you are looking for more information on the current state of the coronavirus for schools in Lincoln, you can follow the link here.

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