Well into March and more than a year into the continuing pandemic, Granville Schools have completed a week with no COVID-19 cases within the district.
Plans are also underway for somewhat more traditional prom and graduation ceremonies.
Superintendent Jeff Brown told board of education members at their monthly meeting on March 15, “I’m very happy to report for the past week, we’ve have had zero cases in the student population and staff population, so we are absolutely trending in the right direction as we go into the fourth quarter of school.”
Brown elaborated, “The fact that we’re saying we’re getting close to the fourth quarter of school is just amazing and it brings a smile to my face know that we’ve been able to have the best year possible that we could have under the circumstances and we’re still trending in the right direction.”
The superintendent checked off some of the academic-year successes achieved under the shadow of the coronavirus, including “a lot of academic success, art successes and we’ve had athletic successes. I know our girls are disappointed, but our girls’ basketball team had a fantastic season.”
Brown also extended “kudos” to wrestler Douglas Terry for finishing second in the state in his weight class. “He’s been amazing in his career in Granville Schools. We’ve had a lot of great things happening in a year where all of us were really nervous about going into the year.”
Brown also heralded the fact that on Friday, March 12, Granville Schools staffers received their second and final round of COVID-19 vaccines, noting the scheduling gave staff members who received the shot time to recover from the sort of post-shot side effects that forced other Licking County School districts to recently shift to virtual learning owing to resulting staff shortages.
“Obviously, weekends are valuable to staff already to try and recharge,” Brown pointed out. “The fact that they spent it somewhat not feeling great is again a testament to our staff and their willingness to do whatever it takes to provide the high-quality education that we’re doing right now in Granville Schools.”
Approximately 240 teachers and staff member opted for vaccinations, Brown said, which he termed, “Very good news on that front, as well.”
Safety, Brown said, “remains our number one priority… Truly, this year, safety was our number one focus.”
Brown told board members, “This has been a very interesting year… I keep saying ‘Hope is on the horizon.’ I hope everyone feels that every single day that we have the ability to educate the young students in Granville.”
In another couple of significant signs of a further steps back toward normalcy, Brown told board members that Granville High School Principal Matt Durst has announced there is a “Save the Date” for April 17 and that, “We are moving forward with prom plans for our juniors and seniors.”
Brown said school officials are currently working to develop a prom plan for submission to the Licking County Health Department for approval.
That said, Brown acknowledged there will inevitably be pandemic prom accommodations.
“It’s not going to look the same,” Brown said, “but it is going to be a prom event and it will be at the Bryn Du fieldhouse.”
Speaking about the selected site, Brown said, “The Bryn Du fieldhouse is actually set up very well to spread people out and have oversight on the balcony, which is kind of nice.”
Brown said, “We’re looking forward to being able to help our students experience that kind of rite-of-passage of prom.”
Turning to graduation, Brown noted 2020 saw a “drive-through” graduation ceremony.
For 2021, “We’re going to be planning an outdoor graduation, most likely,” Brown said, “using our brand-new stadium in a way we’ve never had to utilize it before. That will be a potential first. The good news is, prom and graduation are going to occur.”