Siouxland educators prepare to head back to school

Back to School

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – As Return to Learn plans begin to be finalized for the new school year, teachers in Sioux City are sharing some of their concerns.

The Sioux City School District continues to finalize its Return to Learn Plans. The district is making adjustments since Governor Reynolds proclamation last week. The next school board meeting is set for August 10.

“Anything could happen any minute. We’re trying to be prepared for that, get our curriculum in line,” said Lesa Banks, an educator and Executive Board Representative of the Iowa State Education Association.

As educators like Banks prepare to welcome students back, questions over student safety, as well as her own, remain. She suffers from asthma, putting her in a high-risk bracket for COVID-19.

“I would really like them to have that mask on, so I can get closer to them and help them. I’m not a stand-behind-the-desk teacher. I move through the classroom, and I think I would feel more comfortable if everyone had a mask on,” said Banks.

Brenda Zahner serves as Regional Director for the Iowa State Education Associaton and is a liaison between teachers and district administrators.

“Social distancing is a must, and we understand that’s not easy, but we have to figure out how to do that. We can’t have 35 kids in a classroom next to each other all day long, every day. We have to figure out how we’re going to make this work,” said Zahner.

While health-related issues are top teacher concerns, Zahner said there’s also a focus on personal protection.

“We can’t expect and depend on teachers to buy wipes and hand sanitizer and all those things. It’s another thing we’re advocating for,” said Zahner.

“There’s a lot of teachers that I have talked to that have been going out and stockpiling masks so that they can give them to their students,” said Banks.

As each day on the calendar passes, Banks said she looks for answers, but when that first bell rings, she said she and colleagues across Siouxland will do what they’ve always done.

“We came back after Columbine. We came back after Sandy Hook. You look at a situation, and you figure it out. We’re planners. We’re problem solvers. You look at what you need to do, and you solve that problem,” said Banks.

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