The North Bend Eagle


NBC office
NBC secretary Whitney Armstrongs works with a student and parent from behind a temporary protective barries constructed on the front office desk.

NBC spreading out for unusual school year

by Nathan Arneal
Published 8/19/20

There are a lot of unknowns and concerns heading into the 2020-2021 school year, but claustrophobia won’t be one of them.

NBC students had plenty of elbow room Tuesday as they returned to school for the first time since March 13, with classrooms modified to allow at least 6 feet between students in an effort to stem possible spread of COVID-19.

NBC cafeteriaProtective barriers have also been set up in the cafeteria tables to provide a barrier between students during lunch.

Entering his 26th year at NBC, science teacher Fred Ladehoff, the second longest tenured staff member, is preparing for a year like no other.

“Every year you have some normal anxiety about how the year is going to go,” Ladehoff said, “how the students are going to behave and that kind of stuff. Most of that is not even thought of right now. There are so many things that we’re talking about now that we’ve never had to discuss before.”

Those new issues included what direction students will walk in the hallways. The answer is counterclockwise. So even if you’re just going to the classroom next door, you may have to walk around the whole school to get there.

“You’re going to get your steps in,” high school principal Brenda Petersen said.

When the NBC junior-senior high school building was built in 1969, one of the innovations was removable walls that could be folded up between classrooms. That feature was rarely, if ever, used over the last five decades, but it is going to coming in handy in 2020.

High school classes are small enough to fit in single classrooms with six feet of separation, but some of the middle school classes can reach up to 28 students. In order to keep one student per table, those movable walls were opened up, doubling the size of a classroom to 62 feet wide by 27 feet. Each core middle school teacher will be in such a double room, including math teacher Aubrey Miller.

“I think spreading them out in general is going to quiet them down,” Miller said. “So I think that will help. I don’t think it will be too bad. It seems weird, but I think it will be OK.”

Each double room will have either a para educator or a special education teacher in the room with the regular teacher, giving at least two adults to keep an eye on the class and answer questions.

In Miller’s room, one of the classrooms has a smart board where she can write and draw up problems and examples. That image will be projected on a screen in the other half of the room, so all students will be able to see what Miller is writing in front of them.


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