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Patience will be needed to complete a most-trying year of education

As much as we’d all like for the COVID-19 pandemic to be but a memory, the fact is, despite the development and distribution of vaccines, it will still be a considerable amount of time before life returns to anything resembling what it was in February 2020.

That applies to our schools as well. Even as he announced the return to in-person classes a couple weeks ago, Mifflin County School District Superintendent James Estep presciently warned that short-notice closures of specific buildings, or even the entire school district, will likely be necessary as COVID case counts continue to climb.

Less than a week into the return of in-person instruction from two months of remote learning, the district announced Thursday the first building that had to be temporarily shuttered due to positive COVID cases within the school — Strodes Mills Elementary.

It will almost certainly not be the last.

We urge patience with educators, as most of them want to be back in the classroom as much or more than parents want their children there. We urge patience with school adminstration as they have to make decisions based not only on the current situation, but ever-changing mandates from the state on how to proceed. And we urge patience with students who are the ones whose educations are being affected by something over which they have no control.

The road to the end of the school year will likely be filled with starts, stops and potholes.

We don’t know how drastically COVID-19 will affect things as the year progresses. Those in charge will make the best decision they can under the most trying of circumstances.

But we feel confident in their ability to lead and believe they’ve done a commendable job. We hope you feel that way, too.

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