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Local school leaders say they wear masks to protect their students and community

Local school leaders say they wear masks to protect their students and community


Viewmont Elementary School Principal Jeff Hodakowski said he wears a mask because he cares.

“We all look at our students and our parents and our teachers as one big family, and so it’s my responsibility to be the leader and to show that it can be done and that it is the safe things to do,” he said.”

Grandview Middle School Principal Jennifer Griffin said it is important for teachers to be models for their students. “I think that it’s really important for us to see that you can wear your mask,” she said. “It’s not what I would describe as fun, but it’s not hard. We all need to take care of each other and this is one simple thing we can do.”

Griffin said people in the community have adhered to new guidelines for entering schools. “People have been very cooperative because in this community our children are important and we all know that we are doing things a little bit differently to make sure children are safe,” she said.

Hickory Public School’s teachers and staff are not only preparing for the school year, but preparing to protect their students from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, desks are being situated in classrooms to promote social distancing among students.

Viewmont Elementary's mascot is a bear. Art teacher Denise Knowles painted bear paw prints outside the school. Each print is six feet apart from the next, and students will stand on the prints as they prepare to enter the school.

“We are working hard to make sure when it’s time and it’s safe that we have every precaution in place so we can make sure parents feel great about sending their kids back to school,” Griffin said.

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