FCMS Journalism Editor, Jonah Feldman, discusses with Principal Carruth opening school during a pandemic

Mr. Carruth discusses opening school year during a pandemic and his optimistic outlook for the remainder of school year.


Jonah Feldman

Jonah Feldman snaps a picture of a virtual interview with Principal Carruth

Jonah Feldman, Editor

Q: What do you miss most from the traditional school model? 

A: I miss interacting human interaction. It is very quiet at the school, a little too quiet. 


Q: Which staff do you see the most of during e-learning? 

A: Our clerical staff is here every day, and some office staff is here depending on the day. About 20 to 30 teachers come in to teach each day. Some teachers come in certain days to do labs and things they can’t do in their home.  


Q: Walk me through what a day looks like for you. 

A: Pre pandemic, I was all over the campus; walking through hallways, in the cafeteria, and I was only in my office sporadically. Now, I am in my office a greater portion of the day. More recently, we have been doing campus walkthroughs and placing social distancing decals to prepare for the return of our students.   


Q: Are Falcon Cove’s teachers and staff looking forward to the return of students? 

A: Most of our teachers are ready to return, and some are more anxious about returning, regarding the spread of Covid-19. All our teachers are at different comfort levels with reference to returning to in person learning 


Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your position during the pandemic? 

A: Trying to keep everybody calm during the pandemic has been a challenge. Every day, we are planning for the unknown. In the summer we were planning for the return of students, and then we found out students were not returning. Anything can happen, so we must have a plan for everything.  


Q: Is there anything you miss about being a principal at the high school level rather than the middle school level? 

A: One thing I miss about high school is seeing kids that are getting their college acceptance letters, getting into their dream school and preparing for adulthood. I also miss the rivalries with other high schools and the Friday night football games.  


Q: If it were up to you, how would you like us to continue learning? 

A: My preference is for all 2200 of our students to come back to our school. It is still very important to meet the needs of our students that have health concerns when returning to campus, and I think it is great that parents can decide what is best for their family. The good thing about the e-learning model we have now is if we have a potential outbreak, we won’t have to change our whole program, our kids can just hop on their laptops at home.  


Q: Is there a possibility in the future that we will continue live instruction rather than eLearning in the classroom? 

A: Our teachers still have to teach both groups of students (students working from home and students in the classroom.) One thing the district is doing is installing special cameras in the classrooms, so the teachers have more flexibility to teach and walk around. Canvas will still be in use, as we can not hand out textbooks and hand in papers.  


Q: If students decide they want to go back to school after in person school has already started, can they go immediately? 

A: Unfortunately, students are not able to do this. The survey online is going to be based on the next quarter. Students that respond no to the survey might have to wait until the second marking period. If a student that is going to campus decides that they want to continue eLearning, it is possible that a student might be able to make a switch with them. 


Q: What are you doing to prepare the campus for the return of students? 

A: One example of what we are doing to prepare the campus is putting social distance decals in the cafeteria. There is a sticker every six feet on the benches, and there all also decals in the lunch line to encourage social distancing. We also are making our one-way hallways, and each teacher is going to have a gallon container of wipes for students to wipe down their working area. We are going to limit the amount of kids in our bathrooms too, depending on the size each restroom. 


Q: If a student is participating in learning from home, will they qualify to try out for a sport? 

A: Students will be allowed to try out for sports, weather they are working from school or home. Sports hopefully are going to start in January.  


Q: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

A: The only thing I have to add is students must make sure they are following the protocols. They have to wear their masks and follow social distancing guidelines. If they don’t follow the rules, they will have to participate in eLearning from home.