Thank yous in order after a tough school year

ALL THE hard work has paid off for area schools.

As most area students left (or logged out) of school for the final day of the 2020-21 school year last week, the region should tip its cap to all those who made the year possible.

At times, it appeared all students would complete a portion of the school year from home. Late 2020 was trying as COVID-19 cases surged locally.

Quincy Public Schools didn’t have to shutter any schools during the school year because of COVID-19 — likely helped by the five new elementary schools which helped the district's logistical efforts.

Even those who opted for remote learning had a much difference experience than last spring after educators scrambled when the state shuttered in-person learning for the remainder of last school year.

Students returned in August after educators, administrators and support staff diligently prepared for a year that included temperature checks, contact tracing and face masks.

Early on, rumors were rampant that the schools were opening for in-person just to show the district tried. Social media spurred rumors from people "in the know" sharing anything they heard but never from the source.

Yes, students tested positive for COVID-19. And yes, students were quarantined after being in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. But the dreaded mass outbreak that so many feared and prayed wouldn’t happen never materialized.

Thank you, teachers.

Your work this year was exceptional. No matter what new directive was handed down from the state, you found ways to provide education to our community’s children.

It could not have been easy to teach in front of a camera or wear a mask all day, but your dedication to students prevailed.

Thank you, support staff.

Nurses, custodians, secretaries, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and others helped keep the gears moving.

When discussing education, teachers are the focus, but without the dedicated support staff, schools would come to a standstill.

Thank you, students. You deserve the most praise.

You found a way to persevere during an ever-changing school year.

Many activities and sports didn’t resume until this spring and even then were limited or modified.

Not since the Spanish flu pandemic has the world endured such a pandemic.

You will never forget this year, and hopefully, the experience will help you in life when you find yourselves needing to adapt in difficult situations.

The release of COVID-19 vaccines has made the world and our community a safer place, and this includes schools as educators were able to receive the vaccine early in the distribution process. The Adams County Health Department’s efficient vaccine effort must also be commended.

Educators and support staff who were vaccinated chose to not only protect themselves but also their colleagues and the students they serve.

Students as young as 12 can now receive the Pfizer vaccine. Locally, the Health Department has hosted vaccination clinics at every high school in the county. Authorization for elementary age students could come as early as this fall.

The availability of a vaccine will continue to help usher back back a sense of normalcy for students, educators and support staff.

And after the 2020-21 school year that saw these fine people rise to the most difficult occasion of many of our lifetimes, they rightfully deserve it.

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