‘Normal’ school year begins Sept. 7

By Per Peterson

Distance learning, for the time being, is nothing but a distant memory, and Tracy Area Public Schools administrators hope it stays that way.

The 2021-22 TAPS school year begins on Tuesday, Sept. 7, and, for the most part, things will return to normal. While there are some re-emerging questions about things like mask wearing, the District No. 2904 School Board approved a back-to-school plan at its recent meeting and agreed to take on the responsibility of dealing with another COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are very mindful that everyone has differing opinions on how to mitigate the spread of COVID 19 and keep our students safe,” TAPS Supt. Chad Anderson said. “We will continue to monitor the health and safety of our students and be ready to adapt to whatever challenges come our way. We don’t worry about the unknown, we can only deal with challenges that we are presently experiencing. However, we are always planning and preparing for possible future challenges.”

Challenges is a word that could best be used to describe the last two academic years. Distance learning kicked in, in 2020 — a year that saw the cancellation of all spring activities, as well as a parking lot commencement ceremony. Last year, the district again had to adjust on the fly. Masks and social distancing were required, and the eighth-graders did their learning at the Veterans Memorial Center in downtown Tracy. The frustrations from last year, Anderson said, were that students lost learning time due to quarantine, positive COVID tests and mental health reasons.

“Each year has its own struggles,” said Anderson. “The spring of 2020 was all distance learning. The 2020-21 year had almost all in-person, but we were dealing with face coverings for everyone including during sports. The 2021-22 school year will be unique as well. It will likely bring new challenges that require continued critical thinking with new challenges.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.