ELDORADO—When the governor ordered school buildings closed this spring to try and slow the spread of COVID-19, schools statewide had days to try and rebuild educational services and delivery systems.


Theresa Tosh, superintendent of El Dorado schools said her district is responding with online offerings and packets sent home with students as well as a new initiative called "Capturing Kids Hearts" for the 2021-2022 school year.


"We are adjusting to whatever the needs are and making sure that the people in our community have choices and necessitites for their families," Tosh said.


El Dorado schools recently announced a new start date for students — August 26. This came after the governor attempted to order schools to wait until after Labor Day, only to see the state board of education reject that order in favor of local control.


El Dorado chose to delay school in order to better prepare staff for safely welcoming students back to school.


Teachers started training Aug. 5 for the a new education model that will include online only school, in-person classes for a couple days of week along with online for the remainder of the week and in school every day. The district will follow guidance from the Butler County Health Department to determine which one to utilize to keep staff and students as safe as possible.


Tosh said she is the most excited about the new initiative, maybe especially because it is not COVID-19 related.


"Capturing Kids Hearts is a process and a model to build to grow groups and individuals. It talks a lot about respect from teacher to teacher, student to student, teacher to student and student to teacher," Tosh said. "It is about growing high quality groups and high quality students. I have experience with it in the past at it is pretty phenomenal. … I use it in my personal life all the time."


As the district moves forward, the school plan calls for daily temperature screening; the use of masks by student and staff when social distancing cannot be maintained; washing hands; a prohibition of handshakes, high fives and hugs; specific rules for bus transportation and meals.


"I think we are in a good spot," Tosh said.