GILMER, Texas (KETK) – Gilmer ISD kicked off their first day of school amid the pandemic while opening doors to their brand new high school.
Wednesday morning, students headed back to campus for the first time since March to take on a school year full of uncertainty. High schoolers were able to start the semester in their newly renovated, high-tech classrooms.
The former high school had been in use for over sixty years. Gilmer ISD Superintendent Ricky Albritton said they wanted to upgrade to provide their students with more resources and to better prepare them for a collegiate setting. They also did so to offer more certifications in their Career and Technical Education or CTE programs.
The new facility is modernized with technology, larger classroom sizes, full infrastructure for wifi, and Promethean boards in all classrooms with more mobility for teachers. Albritton added that it will provide a more engaged form of learning.
The efforts to rebuild a new high school began back in 1978. The district faced seven failed bond issues. “The need has been there for a long time,” said Albritton.
During the bond passage, mustering up plans to get the school board up and running, the district faced criticism and worry about the tax rate. Albritton said the tax rate had only increased to $1.39, just a few cents under the expected $1.48.
Gilmer ISD will offer two types of learning environment options for students, both at-home or in-person. For those choosing to study in-person, they will provide hand-washing stations and an abundance of hand-sanitizer.
For students 10 years and up, they will be required to wear face masks if not able to properly social distance.
“I’m glad to see that they’re back in a semi normal setting. We just have to be careful. I told all my staff not to fear the disease, but to respect it and to understand that you can get it, anybody can, so do everything you can to protect yourself. That’s why we have the mask.”Superintendent, Ricky Albritton
They are also providing additional outdoor learning option spaces to get children outside and to spread them out during lecture and classroom activities to help mitigate direct contact.