Central Dauphin teacher says students returning to fully in-person learning is “bittersweet”


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Central Dauphin School District is considering sending all students back to the classroom full time as early as February.

Tuesday marked a week since elementary school students in the district went back fully in person. Now board members are talking about bringing middle and high school students back in person in the next couple of weeks.

Tiffany Henry is a teacher at Swatara Middle School, and she’s also a parent of two boys in the district. She understands both sides of the back-to-school debate.

“It’s bittersweet. I am both happy and sad,” Henry said.

So she’s seen the remote learning challenges with her two sons, especially the one in high school.

“It takes more of an effort on my part at home to make sure I stay on top of him and keeping his stuff done,” Henry said. “Is he really learning the material the way he would have learned it if he were full in person?”

She said she’s noticed some of her students struggling too.

“We have to get them back in the classroom, because they need it,” Henry said.

But she also knows a full return is a safety risk.

“Class sizes may double so we may end up with some classrooms that may have maybe 25 kids in there. And there’s just no way that we can stay 6 feet apart,” Henry said.

That’s a concern for a lot of teachers.

“I feel for people who feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, because they have pre existing conditions and their anxieties are really high. Because that’s a real thing,” Henry said.

If it was up to her she would wait for more than just a couple of weeks for a full in person return.

“I just wish they would just pause it a little bit longer and let’s just see how many of us can get vaccinated so we can get that extra layer of protection,” Henry said.

No matter when the board members decide to send students back they’ll be ready.

“Our teachers always step up to the plate,” Henry said. “If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us it’s how to be flexible, and how to pivot.”

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