Gervais schools change opening to Sept. 13


Gervais School District officials decided to move the first day of school for the majority of its students to Friday for safety reasons.

Although the permits and construction schedule was on track to open school on Monday as originally planned, Superintendent Rick Hensel observed that employees, custodians and teachers alike, were not quite ready to take on the school year.

“There’s just stuff that needs to get done before we open, and I’m afraid that we were going to be exhausted and might have a safety issue,” Hensel said. “When they get in this mode of pushing through to accomplish a goal, they don’t know they’re tired so they won’t want to slow down and that could be a safety risk.”

He added that teachers haven’t had a chance to prepare for school from a curriculum standpoint.

“By having this move, it delayed their normal prep time,” Hensel explained. “Since this is a new building, they have to think out procedures, like just getting kids to lunch. Plus we haven’t accomplished the move-in part.”

The only thing construction-wise that still needs to be put in before students can come to school is a sidewalk between the two elementary buildings that is Americans with Disabilities Act accessible.

The decision to postpone the start date came Thursday, the same day as the grand opening of the facilities to parents. Thanks to the large attendance, the word got out, and only a couple instances of students showing up on Monday were noted. Families were also notified through an auto-dialer system.

With students set to start school on Friday, the already-planned open house events are still scheduled for this Thursday night, in which parents will meet teachers. Hensel said that would be a positive lead-in to the first day of school.

“It will be good to get just one day, so if we have problems with just that one day, we have the weekend to fix any logistical problems,” Hensel said.

Now, the district will have to decide whether students at Gervais Elementary, Gervais Middle and Samuel Brown Academy will have to make up hours in the classroom.

“In terms of seat hours, we wouldn’t need to make that up,” Hensel said. “But as the year goes by, we’ll see if we need to do that.”