DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – As schools look to reopen, many districts are facing the obstacle of how they’re going to navigate the school year. One district in western Kansas has been working with the community to understand their concerns.
The U.S. Census shows that Dodge City has the highest Hispanic-Latino community in Kansas at nearly 62% of the total population. For many of those in that community, they are essential workers.
Alfredo Del Real is an essential employee at National Beef. He also has three children in the dodge city school system.
He says he has seen the impact of the virus firsthand.
“My main concern was actually getting this disease and coming home and spreading it to my kids and to my wife,” said Del Real.
As his children prepare to return to school, he is nervous.
But school officials say they are prepared for any challenges that may come with the pandemic.
“We care about the safety we’re going to provide in each and every school and the same is true for our staff,” said Dr. Fred Dierksen, USD 443 Superintendent.
The district has taken note of safety precautions within meat processing facilities. Using them to develop a plan that includes social distancing and handwashing.
“Because we have so many parents working as essential workers, they are bringing what they’re learning and they’re asking the right questions and we’re all moving forward as opposed to, what is this, I don’t understand, so I feel like we’re all growing together in that sense,” said Erica Teran, Wilroads Gardens Elementary Principal.
They are also working with translators to get proper communication to the Spanish-speaking community.
For parents like Del Real, the added precautions have given him comfort.
“The main thing is to have hope. If you have hope you can overcome it,” said Del Real.
The Dodge City school district says their main priority is to not only keep students and staff safe but also their families that continue to work on the frontlines.
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