BPS giving people options to mitigate COVID this school year

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 4:34 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It’s back to class for Bismarck Public School students. After a challenging year of ups and downs due to the pandemic, students and staff are hopeful to regain a sense of normalcy.

Administration says in such a divisive time, the goal is to create unity by giving both staff and students options.

Teachers say they can’t be happier to go back.

Last year was a roller coaster for teachers trying to navigate continuously updating COVID-19 guidance.

“Last year was just so many ups and downs for them,” said Simle Middle School 7th grade English Language Arts Teacher Nikki Senger.

That’s why Senger is prepping her room to be a welcoming place for a year she hopes will provide normalcy.

“I have the lights hung up. I want them to look around and see all the new books that we have this year,” said Senger.

But, not everything will be business as usual. The district will be enforcing COVID precautions like social distancing, sanitizing and the option for distance learning.

BPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Hornbacher says safety is important, but the district will not be tracking teacher vaccinations.

“In the 30 plus years that I’ve worked here, that isn’t information that Bismarck schools has collected onto our employees,” said Dr. Hornbacher.

As for masks, they’re optional.

“BPS is recommending masks in school. We’re just not requiring them,” said Dr. Hornbacher.

Senger says the relaxed protocol will help foster relationships and better education.

“It’ll help us connect with kids a little bit more without having the barrier of the mask or having to wear the mask. I’m excited to be able to team with my colleagues and be in the same room,” said Senger.

Although it’s not exactly a traditional year, Senger and Hornbacher say they’re doing what they can to make it feel as close to normal as possible.

For the complete BPS reentry plan and COVID protocol, visit

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