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Dubuque students go back to fully in-person learning for the first time since last spring

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 9:02 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) — Joe Connolly teaches Industrial Tech at Dubuque Senior High School.

He loves his job, but, for him, it is more than just about teaching: it is about making sure his students are ready for the next step.

“Making kids realize that there is life after high school,” he mentioned. “Just getting them ready and making them realize they are going to succeed and move on after high school.”

Tuesday was the first day schools within the Dubuque Community School District started offering fully in-person learning since the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down last spring and if there was any teacher excited about it, it was Mr. Connolly.

“I had classes of seven kids and now I have classes of 17,” he explained. “Just being around that many more people teaches them how to interact, how to get along, the social skills it takes to exceed and be successful in the workplace later on.”

However, that also means more work for him.

“It is a big room, so we can spread 20 people out fairly easily, but it is more supervision and safety and stuff like that for me too,” he said.

To comply with social distancing guidelines as much as possible, school staff have extended the lunch area from the cafeteria to the school gymnasium. Between groups, staff will come in and sanitize the areas.

Students are also required to wear masks at all times while they are inside a school building.

According to the school principal, Dubuque Senior High School has around 1,200 students going to school in-person and over 300 still doing fully online learning.

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