Hammond school superintendent defends in-person learning amid ongoing construction at Morton
For schools working to wrap up construction projects before the first day of class, material and labor shortages have created some extra challenges. In Hammond, Morton High School began the school year Wednesday with the gym floor, window replacement and science labs still incomplete.
During the school board meeting the night before, board member Carlotta Blake-King expressed concern for students' safety. "Based on what I saw, it'd be a miracle if Morton is prepared and ready for those children to go into that building. As a board, our goal is children first, safety — a safety environment, not a hazardous environment," Blake-King said.
But Superintendent Scott Miller said that while the work is unfinished, it doesn't mean it's unsafe. "So I believe we are ready for school. Yeah, I wish we were done with this project, but these are how building projects go. They're not always a hundred-percent predictable," Miller told the school board.
He said visible electrical cables didn't pose any danger. PE class could be held outside until the gym floor is ready. And students weren't expected to use the science labs during the first days of school, anyway.
"We don't need them on day one. We don't. If you're in Hammond, we do suspended curriculum, which means, in high school, the first three days, we spend teaching the expectations and the rules, if you prefer that word, of the classroom," Miller explained.
He stressed that the issues were not enough to warrant a switch to eLearning, especially since schools are limited to three eLearning days a year.