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In-person instruction critical this year in Minot public, private schools

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 8:04 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – A lot has changed in the realm of education in just the past year in part because of the coronavirus pandemic. As schools in the Minot area welcome students back to in-person learning, Your News Leader caught up with leadership from multiple districts about their academic goals this year.

Across the country, students’ education has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as schools faced shutdowns, switching over to online learning, changing to hybrid models, and juggling how to re-open safely.

All of that made this year’s return to in-person learning so crucial for students in the Minot area.

“If we can’t have our kids here and be an active part of the educational process, it’s really hard to teach them. So attendance is going to be a major focus. We need our kids here. Our teachers are great, they should have those kids in front of them each and every day,” said Dr. Mark Vollmer, superintendent with Minot Public Schools.

Even though schools were able to transition to online and hybrid learning, skills that can only be picked up in the classroom were lost.

“Just to be able to be together in a classroom, to be able to collaborate and corporate and to do these things, that’s education today to be able to work on those skills and face to face makes those things possible,” said Jeff Ringstad, superintendent with Our Redeemer’s Christian School.

This year, Bishop Ryan, Our Redeemer’s, and Minot Public Schools are all in person and are not mandating masks or COVID-19 vaccines, which may help relieve additional anxiety for students.

“You can see there’s a weight that’s lifted off their shoulders. They recognize what this is, more than they did last year and I think that’s going to take away some of the anxiety that we saw last year,” said Fr. Jayden Nelson, president of Bishop Ryan Catholic Schools.

Teachers and staff are ready to get back to the basics without distractions.

“We’re really looking to just ratchet up, year after year, our academic rigor in the sense of fully implementing our educational plan and growing our kids’ capacity to perform well on their tests and in life,” said Nelson.

Helping students to focus on education and compete statewide in testing.

“Last year, our numbers there were solid, even considering the year we had, however, I really believe that face to face all year without the distractions, we’ll see a nice jump there as well,” said Ringstad.

Working to make up for lost time in the classroom.

According to U.S. News, North Dakota ranks 25 in the country in education.

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