When the teens are there, the nature of their “lab work” in studying and tending to animals mostly outside, or in spacious barn-like structures, makes social distancing easier than in classesin a traditional high school setting.
The school’s equine, veterinarian and landscaping programs are maintaining their usual enrollment levels despite the COVID-19 virus, he said.
Still the coronavirus shutdown of all Ohio K-12 schools in March was a shock to the Butler Tech students, he said.
“Last spring the students had the rug pulled out from under them very quickly. The students were here on a Friday and didn’t come back on Monday. I really felt bad for the students not to be able to interact with the horses,” said Spoerl.
But like the rest of the state’s schools, the Natural Science teachers and students have adjusted, said A.J. Huff, spokeswoman for Butler Tech.
“The large lab spaces (allow students) to adequately social distance, and at the Natural Science Center there is the additional advantage of being outside, in the barns and on the grounds,” said Huff.
“Overall, the hybrid (scheduling) model is working well for not only the students both in their career tech program and academics, but it still ensures that all of the animals are well taken care of and given the love and attention they deserve,” she said.
Brittany Paddack, a junior from Ross Schools, said the hybrid schedule has been a “toss up” causing some uneasiness.
“It can really (impact) what you are doing that day or what classes you have,” said Paddack.
Regardless, the hybrid schedule and coronavirus precautions of this school year haven’t lessened her passion for horses or her plans to make a career out of caring for them.
“It’s very relaxing compared to normal school,” she said.