Squire reflects on start of school year


Principal Sandra Squire is in her ninth year as principal at Ben Davis. She reflects on how the start of this difficult year has gone.

Zion Brown, sports editor

Sandra Squire became prinicpal at Ben Davis in 2012. It is hard to imagine a more difficult year to prepare for than this year. Squire reflects on how the start of the 2020-21 school year has been so far.

Q: How concerned were you initially with coming back to school a few weeks ago?

A: I had natural concerns when administrators first came back to work as I, like most people, had not left the house much between March-June.  After being here all summer and getting prepared, I was less concerned when students came back.  We had worked very hard, in a short amount of time, to create a safe environment for our staff and students. 

Q: How do you feel about the way students and staff have treated the restart so far?

A: Students and staff have been incredible. I am not surprised, but it has been encouraging to see how quickly staff and students adjusted to the new norms.  Students understand why we have so many new protocols; it is rare that I have to ask a student to pull a mask up or remind them to socially distance.  Students came back prepared and they, like all of us, want to follow the procedures so we can remain open! Staff have been the utmost professionals throughout the process.

Q: Are there any precautions that you think people in the building should be doing a better job at?

A: I think we all have to think about what we do outside of the building.  We have so many processes in place on campus, but if we are not careful off campus, then we lose all that hard work.  As far as what we do inside the building, everyone has been great.  We have mask compliance, social distancing and students are not congregating, which I know is difficult. 

Q: What is the protocol should there be a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in the building?

A: If we have a confirmed positive case, the head nurse in the district comes over to the building and we contact trace.  We review every seating chart (bus and lunch included) to see if any staff or students have been exposed.  If we have anyone who has been within 6 feet of the positive case for 15 cumulative minutes during the exposure period, we inform the staff or student and have them quarantine.  Students and staff are given the return date and we mark it in the system.  If we social distance, then no one should have to quarantine.

Q: We are currently going to school on a hybrid schedule. What would have to occur for school to go back to its normal, five days a week schedule?

A: First, we have to hit certain measurements from the Marion County Health Department which can be found on their website.  These include but are not limited to being below 5% positivity (7 day average) rate for several weeks in a row.  If that happens, then the education center would review if there is a natural break to change how we do school.  We have quite a bit to physically change if we go five days a week so it would not be an overnight decision.

Q: How well do you think the school has handled and accounted for students that are 100% remote?

A: Students who are 100% remote go through our Achieve Virtual school so I can not really speak to their processes.  This is a fully functioning virtual school that has been in Wayne for several years and has a principal.  As for the hybrid BD model, we are working on contacting any students who are not working at a high level from home.  This process is new for everyone and it is difficult to be an independent learner at home, but those remote days are NOT days off so we need students to remember this fact!! Students need to make sure they are accessing their classes from home.