Meridian's first day back to school with split-shift schedules
MOUNDS, Ill. - It was an unusual first day back to school for students in Mounds, Illinois. Elementary, junior high and high school students are now sharing one building. This comes after toxic mold was found in the Meridian Elementary School building. Architects deemed the building unsafe and faculty was forced to close the school.
Students in pre-kindergarten through second grade and those in seventh through 12th grades will now go to class from 7 a.m. until noon. Students in grades three through six are attending from noon until 5 p.m.
Six hundred students are now sharing one building and it is a little cramped. Meridian faculty said it was a learning experience for everyone. Faculty is looking on the bright side, but some parents are unhappy.
Lashawna Johnson has two kids that attend Meridian High School and said the split-shifts are frustrating. Johnson said, "It's hard on the child, it's hard on the provider. It's hard on the parents trying to work. It's hard on everyone, it's going to be hard on these teachers too."
Math teacher Novella Harris said it is a small step in the right direction. Harris said, "The students are kind of confused, but we're slowly getting through it."
Meridian Interim Superintendent Terry Morelind said there are not many options and hopes the shifts will be temporary.
Morelind said, "We're pretty limited right now. It's either that or we disperse kids throughout communities and that's not very good. I'd rather have them all at a central location."
Harris is optimistic about the changes. She said, "We can meet the challenge, because we're Bobcats."
But, Johnson is worried. "When the seasons change, they're going to be getting on the bus in the dark and the kids are getting out of school in the dark, it's ridiculous,"said Johnson.
The Meridian School board meets Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. to try to figure out the best way to remove equipment from the closed school. They will also discuss whether to have the building with mold condemned, reconditioned, or move to temporary learning centers.