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Washington Co. students react to end of challenging school year

Posted at 5:14 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 19:14:49-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah — An extraordinary school year comes to an end for thousands of Utah students Wednesday.

Washington County School District is one of the first to let out for the summer. FOX 13 News caught up with the Smith family outside South Mesa Elementary.

“I didn’t know what to expect because I finished last year online,” Olivia Smith said, a 4th Grader.

Read - Washington County School District stops enforcing mask-wearing despite statewide requirement

Olivia’s class spent much of the new school year reviewing what may have been missed online during the first months of the pandemic.

Everyone was required to mask-up until May 10, when the school board decided not to enforce the mask mandate.

“Once you got used to it, you kinda just put it on and went on with it,” said Olivia.

“It was different because we had to social distance and wear masks,” said Tate Smith.

“Our students had to show resiliency to get through what they got through,” said Washington County School District spokesperson Steve Dunham.

Washington teaches more than 30,000 students in 50 schools.

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In November and December, COVID cases hovered near the threshold requiring a switch to remote learning in some schools. However Dunham credits the diligence of staff and students for schools never hit the benchmark.

“You have to admit there is a significant amount of luck to allow us to get through without having us close schools like other districts,” said Dunham.

While not every student thrived this past year, Dunham said just making it through is something to be proud of.

“I was feeling like I did great and learned way more this year than ever,” said Olivia.