Administering an entire school full of staff and students can be hard. It becomes ten times harder when a pandemic completely changes the school system, especially for a caring principal like Andy Hagman, who loves to spread positivity to everyone at his school.
Starting on September 28th, students that choose to attend in-person school rather than virtual school will follow the new hybrid schedule, where they will be split up alphabetically by last names into two groups. These groups will then alternate which days they attend school on campus… and which days they attend school virtually.
“The idea is that you don’t have more than half of your student body on campus at any given time, which is important because we have to try to create some space between people,” Hagman said.
On September 8th, Hagman sent out a survey to parents and students about attending school on campus or at home, virtually. To help parents decide which option would be best for their students, he attached a video over the key differences between the two.
“I want them to know that it’s going to be a lot of the same thing,” Hagman said. “And if you come to school, it won’t be school as normal. It’s going to look different.”
The process of preparing for the new 2020-2021 school year was stressful for many of the staff. At first, there were many questions about how students would receive resources, like textbooks and devices, followed by events that haven’t been able to take place, like Viking Fest and orientations for each grade level.
“It’s exhausting and it’s also an interesting challenge because you are having to think of things in a whole new way,” Hagman said.
Hagman acknowledges that much of the change is still hard for teachers and students to adapt to.
“And that causes me personal anguish because you want school to be effective, you want it to be something that people look forward to and appreciate,” Hagman said. “It’s okay if it’s challenging, but you don’t want it to be a burden.”
As many students have already come to Hagman, explaining their struggles with the pandemic and its effects on school, he has let them know that they aren’t alone, replying with equal exasperation from his own troubles.
“It’s not what we all signed up for, so trying to bring a degree of normalcy and positivity to it is always on the top of my mind,” Hagman said.
Hagman predicts that education as a whole will rely much more on technology than it ever did before the pandemic. And once all students are allowed to return to school, they will likely be more appreciative of class time.
“To me, what that means is more intensive collaboration, because I think that’s what the people are missing right now is that human interaction, between teacher and student, and between student and student,” Hagman said.
Through all of this, he believes that keeping his health up is an important key in staying positive. He does this through meditation and regular exercise to keep himself physically and mentally in shape. Hagman also sees that it’s imperative to cherish what he already has.
“The reality of the situation is, for me, I have a job, my family is healthy, we have a roof over our heads, we’ve got food to eat, so everything else, you can make it work, you can manage it,” Hagman said. “It’s important trying to remember to have appreciation for what you have and not get caught up in the way you want things to be.”