Lewis and Clark kindergarten teacher prepares classroom for a socially-distant school year

Mona Heggedal will have just 9 kids in her classroom at one time as a result of Fargo Public School's hybrid learning model guidelines.

FARGO, N.D. — Mona Heggedal has been a kindergarten teacher for 34 years, but returning back to school this year is unlike anything she has experienced in her career before.

“Just to have only nine students in the class, it is something I have never had,” said Heggedal.

That small size is the result of guidelines set by Fargo Public School’s Smart Restart plan.

Students will be returning to Heggedal’s kindergarten class in a hybrid format. The class of 18 will be split up into two groups and they will alternate between learning in-person and from home.

Heggedal says she feels much better about distance learning after getting experience with it at the end of last school year.

“The district as a whole is going to have a lot better hold on what we are going to be doing,” said Heggedal. “I feel much more comfortable using the technology that we are going to be using too.”

Teaching students remotely won’t be the only thing Heggedal will have to adjust to.

Her classroom will look much different than normal to accommodate social distancing.

Among the changes, only two students will be allowed at each table, lunch will be eaten in the classroom, books will have to go in a quarantine box after a child reads one, and there are floor markers to indicate where students can stand when they have to line up.

“When we sit on the rug for whole group, we will not sit right next to the each other, so I have “x’s” on the rug which will indicate where we can sit,” Heggedal explained.

Students will also be required to wear a mask at all times. While that may seem like challenge for kindergartners, Heggedal is confident in her young students.

“We have had a chance to do these back to school assessments and the students that I have met so far have had the masks on and they just don’t seem to bother them,” said Heggedal.

A lot of things will look different in her classroom, but Heggedal says she is just happy to get back to doing what she has loved most about being an educator all these years; getting the chance to see and teach kids face-to-face.

Categories: Coronavirus-ND, Health, Local News, North Dakota News