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Grayson County teachers prepare for first day of school; first day delayed

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 6:45 PM EDT
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GRAYSON COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: Grayson County students are now scheduled to start classes August 18, a pushback of a week because of concerns of an aftershock from Sunday’s North Carolina earthquake.

ORIGINAL STORY: Teachers in Grayson County spent much of the day Friday preparing their classrooms for back-to-school next week.

“I’m really looking forward to starting school on Thursday, seeing all of the students and getting our year started,” said kindergarten teacher Anna Waller.

The school stage has been transformed into a special ed classroom, the library is an additional classroom, and when you walk into the front office, you see the staff sit behind a large sheet of plexiglass.

“We don’t want students to feel scared when they come back, we don’t want parents to feel scared. We are here for them,” said Principal Jennifer Campbell.

In a kindergarten classroom, mini desks were donated from Wythe County and they’re six feet apart so kids don’t have to wear their masks when they’re sitting down.

“In the past we’ve used tables and had four or five students sitting at them and that’s not possible,” Waller said.

“If we’re able to follow the procedures that we’ve put into place, it should very much keep us from having to shut down,” said Superintendent Kelly Wilmore. “It’s just the hand we’ve been dealt, and we will have to keep moving forward.”

The superintendent said only about 10-percent of students have chosen the virtual-only option to come back, the majority ready to go to a physically distanced classroom.

“It makes my heart shine, it really does, to see the teamwork, to see the comradery for everyone to know that they’re putting students’ safety first and looking out for one another as well,” Campbell said.

The plan is to keep in person learning Monday through Thursday, switching to five days a week once we enter Phase Four. Friday is reserved for one-on-one instruction with virtual students and a virtual day for the other students.

Bus drivers are driving double routes to keep buses at 50-percent capacity.

“It’s time to get back into the game,” Wilmore said. “This is what we do.”

You can read the whole back-to-school plan here.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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