BELFAST — Editor's note: This is the third in a series of articles by the fourth graders in Nancy Nickerson's class at Capt. Albert W. Stevens School to inform our readers about what it's like to attend school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since this story was written, all schools in Waldo County have been given the state's "yellow" designation, meaning they must implement hybrid learning plans, with students attending school in cohorts on alternating days of the week. This article has been reprinted with permission, with special thanks to Reporter Brody Ingraham.
If you think it's hard being a classroom teacher during these COVID days, try being a gym teacher. With all that social distancing and running around with masks on, it is like figuring out a puzzle every day. I got a chance to interview our gym teacher, Mr. Deuring, about his take on how the year is going.
Brody: How did COVID affect gym class?
Mr. Deuring: The big thing is about the spacing and the equipment. I think it's had a pretty big effect on gym class. I have to be really creative when I am planning my lessons. I did think of games that are going to be fun and exciting for you guys, as well as being safe and spaced-out.
Brody: What is the hardest part about gym now?
Mr. Deuring: I think it's the lack of shared equipment. I feel like we've done some pretty exciting and fun things so far . Now it'll be interesting to see what it looks like when it starts snowing. During the winter I like to start a floor hockey unit, or even a volleyball unit. It will be interesting, because we cannot use shared equipment.
Brody: Where will we do gym this year in the winter?
Mr. Deuring: The winter weather is on its way, so we might look into things where if I do get to use equipment, you kids may have to wipe down everything after class, getting it all ready for the next crew. I will continue to research games and activities as well as come up with creative ways for you to move and groove.
Brody: Why can't we play with the stuff in the gym?
Mr. Deuring: I think it's that we want to err on the side of caution. Think about all the kids coming into gym class and they all use the equipment. We want to minimize the spreading of germs as much as we can. My goal is to make sure to keep everyone safe. I would much rather be able to use equipment, but I understand these are the rules. I'm looking at things differently, through a different lens. It is a challenge at times, but it is an opportunity for me to learn and be a better teacher.
Brody: How will we get through this?
Mr. Deuring: By being positive. I think we'll get through this by following these rules, because I'd like to think every day that we follow the rules we kind of get a step closer to something that's more normal. I mean, since we have been here we've been doing a pretty good job, taking care of what we do and making sure we wear the masks, making sure we distance ourselves to stay on track.
Brody: What is the best thing that happened from COVID-19?
Mr. Deuring: I think it brought a lot of the teachers together. I think that we have a really good team here at CASS, with teachers thinking outside of the box, a lot of the things that the teachers come up with are pretty creative stuff. I'm going to use some of these techniques next year. We have our squads and numbering system. I also love using technology as well.
Brody: How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
Mr. Deuring: I think it just made us realize that we need to be physically healthy and mentally healthy. I'm glad to be back at school and I'm glad to work with such great kids and a great team. I am glad we are a full green return. I was starting to feel like a couch potato.
Brody Ingraham is a student in Nancy Nickerson's fourth grade class at Capt. Albert W. Stevens School in Belfast.