A trio of Blunt Junior Firefighters, 8th grader Ely Heuertz, and 6th graders Bryson Heuertz and Ryley Sprinkel spent the waning days of summer at the Sully County Fair manning the concession stand in the Soil Conservation Service building. With the first day of school less than a week away, returning to the classroom was on their minds.

All three are concerned about the difference in this school year over previous years due to the mitigations in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19

“We’re going to have to wear a mask in the hallway and on the bus,” said Ryley, who along with Bryson will be joining his classmates in middle school and riding the bus to Onida for the first time.

In addition to wearing masks, ABO students traveling on the route bus or activity bus will have assigned seats in family groups.

“Having assigned seats on the bus and sitting with my brother will be annoying,” said Bryson.

“I’m with him,” agreed Ely about the annoyance factor.

All three say they probably won’t use their time on the bus to do homework. “My handwriting would be even worse than it is already if I did my work on the bus,” said Bryson.

None of the three know their class schedules, but they suspect it will be similar to the past.

“In the classrooms we’ll be able to not have masks on,” said Bryson.

“They’ll have Mrs. Handcock for math,” said Ely, an experienced middle schooler. “I think I have Mrs. Handcock, too.”

Ely says that he’ll probably have Mrs. Scott for English again this year. “It was good to have Mrs. Scott,” said Ely. “We did a lot of paragraphs and stories. A lot of writing.”

“Lunch is going to be weird,” said Bryson. “You have to be socially distanced. It’ll be messed up.”

When asked if they thought the social distancing is what they’d tell their kids about, Ely answered, “We probably won’t even remember it.”

For extra-curricular activities, all three plan to go out for football and wrestling, and Ryley says that he also plans to go out for track, participating in jumping and running events.

“I couldn’t hurdle,” said Bryson.

“I can,” Ryley responded.

Although several cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the community of Onida, since there are no cases in the schools, the 2020-2021 school year will be at Phase 1 – normal, in person operation with mitigations on the first day of school, Wednesday, August 19.