Every year before school starts, Five Falls Christian School families and faculty clean the school to start the year off fresh. With students just about to return from a five-month break since the start of the pandemic, this year’s “School Cleaning Work Bee” represents not only an opportunity to provide a safe environment for students but also the fact that students can attend school in person instead of online.
Head Teacher Arlene Lambert explained the significance of this year’s School Cleaning Work Bee: “We usually have one every year about this time before school starts just to get everyone involved in cleaning the school. But this year, we think it’s extra important to get everything really sanitized before the kids come.”
So Lambert -- alongside a small group of parents and teachers -- prepared surfaces and classrooms for the school year ahead. She also used the event as an opportunity for parents to see what the upcoming school year will be like.
“Parents can come and see what the classrooms look like and that it is going to be a fun place still for the kids,” Lambert said.
However, it will also be marked by some changes, like face masks, desk shields, and daily cleaning regimens. “The teachers will be sanitizing high-touch areas twice a day and everything once a day,” Lambert said.
Lambert said in her close contact with parents since school closed, she’s found that most parents have accepted this new means of schooling.
Brandon Franklin, the parent of two Five Falls students, isn’t worried about the well-being of his children next year. “It sounds like there’s gonna be lots of daily cleanings and appropriate precautions so it think it’s gonna be handled very well,” Franklin said.
In order to prepare his third and sixth grade children for these changes, he told them, “There’s gonna be extra precautions. There’s gonna be masks, probably some desk shields.”
Franklin explained that his children were hoping to return to school as opposed to receiving online instruction. “I think their biggest concern is that school would not be able to take place here -- that they would have to do it online and they would miss seeing their friends again,” Franklin said.
After delaying their start date several days from most public schools, his children are more eager for the first day in just a few weeks.
“I’m really just happy to send the kids back. they’re actually very anxious for school to start. We delayed a week for extra time to get everything ready...so we’re just excited for school to start,” Franklin said.
The teachers plan to keep their class size small this year. However, Lambert said the two classes may have room for one to two more students per class.
Five Falls Christian School is located at 2930 Flood Road in Great Falls.