SALINE COUNTY (WSIL) -- Doing right by our children is at the heart of public education and public health. Throw in an unprecedented pandemic, and the course of action is challenging.
Parents in Eldorado have sent their kids to school for in-person learning that has gone uninterrupted since the start of the year. They say their school district is succeeding, despite the challenges.
Eldorado High School English teacher Mirada Cain is busy helping students prep for the SAT at the front of a classroom with students spaced out, an empty desk between them.
Cain's daughter is a sophomore, and both mom and daughter have been attending school, in person, five days a week since the start.
"And she takes college prep classes here at Eldorado High School," says Cain, adding that they are classes where an instructor's guidance can make all the difference.
"I would personally find it a nightmare, just as a parent, trying to instruct Chemistry and Algebra II, specifically," she says.
Superintendent Ryan Hobbs says the board debated and put together a plan the community agreed with. He says the idea was, "can we get through a few weeks, which became months. Now the district is on track to finish the fall semester, almost entirely in-person.
All but around 10-percent of students attend in-person, which Hobbs says test scores are indicating there is no substitute for that teacher-student interaction.
"So they've had the exact same school experience, as far as education, as they had last year," explains Hobbs.
He credits their success to the parents and staff, the students and the community watching out for each other. Eldorado students have quarantined, but the contacts have so far, remained off-campus.
"We've been very fortunate to be able to do that," says Hobbs. "If tomorrow the Health Department told us that we were in danger, or that we were contributing to community spread, we would close down tomorrow."
He says the school works closely with the Egyptian Health Department and follows the COVID guidelines, but there is no regulations on behavior for students at home.
Lynne Wilson is a parent of a six-year old first grader, she says her daughter "looks forward" to the classroom.
"Some mornings we have the, 'I wish I was online,' when she's tired in the mornings," says Wilson. "But, for the most part, she wants to be with her friends, she wants to be with her teacher, that's where she wants to be."
She says Eldorado parents feel fortunate their kids have kept safe, and kept in-person learning working. School administrators understand the new mitigation measures and are fully prepared to go fully-remote learning if it becomes necessary.