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GIPS allows Norfolk families to attend Friday night’s football game

Two GI leaders making strong appeal to community to wearing masks
Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 12:56 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2020 at 1:07 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - On Wednesday, both Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele and Grand Island Public Schools Superintendent Tawana Grover asked residents to wear masks, continue social distancing and to take proper precautions to ensure the safety of our community, and to allow schools and businesses to remain open.

During the address, Mayor Steele made mention numerous times of the importance of mask wearing, and how a further increase in COVID-19 numbers could have a negative impact once again on our lives. “We can’t get complacent to the virus. We have the power to control the virus with masks and social distancing. I need your help so the city doesn’t have to take drastic measures with lockdowns like we did in the spring,” Steele said.

Schools were greatly affected by the spring lockdow. Dr. Tawan Grover said since GIPS schools reopened 9 weeks ago 85 percent of the student body has remained in class. “We are grateful that we can give both in-person and virtual options to our students and their families. Keeping learning going at school is critical. It’s important that students are able to take full advantage of the GIPS experience at all grade level. That’s why we feel it is important that everyone continues to wear their masks and take other precautions to keep our community healthy,” said Grover.

Dr. Grover also mentioned how shutting down in the spring has taken a toll on students learning and future education, no matter their backgrounds. “Students grades 3-8 came back with only gaining 70 percent retention of the skills from the previous year, and only 50 percent of their math. Our teachers are working with the students to regain the learning lost in the spring,” she said. Dr. Grover also said that many students have voiced concerned about going to college or getting scholarships if schools have to shut down again.

Though COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, Dr. Grover announced that Norfolk families will be allowed to attend the high school’s home football game this Friday night. This is the final home game for Grand Island Senior High. Rival team attendance has been a hot button topic for many weeks. “The safety protocols that we have at games we think will protect our students and community. Mask wearing will be required, no questions asked,” she said.

Dr. Grover did warn that if things continue to get worse, they may have to go to a restricted model of learning, with either less days in classrooms, or at worst back to all online learning. “We need to understand that what’s happening in our community inadvertently impacts schools. We aren’t panicking but we’re paying very close attention to the numbers.”

Grover also mentioned how great she felt that students and staff have reacted to mask wearing, saying they understand that by wearing a mask it keeps them in school and able to do the activities they love and to see the people they care about.

Mayor Steele gave another final plea for people to wear masks and to stay home and adhere to the quarantine guidelines when they’re told to, bringing up his own quarantine experience from early September, “Having to quarantine was disruptive to my life and caused me to lose business and income, and also made it more difficult to do my job as your mayor. So, if you go to work sick and cause others at work to quarantine it hurts their lives and businesses,” he said.

He stated if people don’t want to get sick and quarantine, don’t want their schools to shut down, or their businesses to suffer, then the community must do everything within it’s power to control the virus.

“We cannot let ourselves get complacent by believing everything has returned to normal,” Steele said. “We all have the power to slow the virus down by wearing masks and social distancing.”

Steele also said he needs the community’s help to keep schools open and keep the economy stable. He asks people to wear masks, wash their hands and social distance to keep cases from going up, and the city from shutting down again.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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