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Bryan High School principal focusing on health

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 12:59 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha Public School students are back in school.

However, with coronavirus cases surging in Nebraska, Bryan High School Principal Dr. Rony Ortega says he’s doing everything possible to keep students safe.

“I don’t think I would have ever anticipated leading a high school in the middle of a pandemic," Ortega said.

This is his second year in the role, and to say the least, it’s drastically different than the first.

“Very much so," he said.

On his birthday Monday, Ortega was finally able to welcome a third of his high school students back to their classrooms. Besides one student arriving on the wrong day of the family 3/2 plan, things went smoothly.

“My birthday wish came true and I was able to see about 600 kids in person and after probably 220 days of not seeing them in person - it was great," Ortega said.

He says a third of their students chose to continue learning remotely, the last third will be in classrooms Thursday and Friday.

With cases in Nebraska, more specifically Douglas County on the rise, Ortega says they’re making sure students are given the tools to stay healthy at home and in the classroom.

“We’re communicating and reinforcing daily that if anyone in the home is ill, you know, the student should not report,” Ortega explained.

Students were also given thermometers to take home.

Learning from an outbreak at Gretna High School following a party, Ortega is making sure his students know if they want to continue in-person learning, they need to be responsible.

“Our students understand the severity of this pandemic. I think some of them have been impacted by this pandemic personally," Ortega said. "They’re certainly doing their part, and we hope that continues going forward.”

According to the OPS dashboard, there are 37 newly diagnosed COVID cases in students and 41 active cases.

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