D-38 theater teacher navigates a pandemic plot twist

Reopening Southern Colorado Schools

MONUMENT, Colo. — Lewis-Palmer School District 38 returned to in-person learning across the board last week.

Though high schools are still following a hybrid schedule, extra curriculars are resuming.

District 38 students were back in school on Jan. 11, which means that musicals and drama class finally can practice duets in person, not over a device.

District 38 drama teacher, Josh Belk, learned to navigate the plot twist that was the pandemic.

“My advance classes, we were just starting a stage make-up unit, it worked pretty well because we could video conference and talk about what they had done,” said Belk.

However, now Palmer Ridge High School is back from intermission on an in-person hybrid schedule.

“Because were split into cohorts esentially our class [sizes] are halved, when I see my kids, I get to interact with them a lot more,” said Belk.

The show must go on and it starts with auditions. Though coronavirus is still center stage, many are happy to no longer be connecting over a camera.

“We’re social people, so it’s difficult to be in proximity to people and not be near people,” said Belk. “It’s not all the way normal, but it’s nice to do something normal-ish.”

Belk said this group is like a family – from audition to encore.

“For me, theater is about connection, it’s an actor connecting with the character, it’s a performer connecting with the audience, it’s a director connecting with a student,” Belk said.

The musical students are auditioning for still has an uncertain future, whether they will be able to perform in front of an audience or not; but Belk said, either way, it’s important to support students and their art.

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