Roanoke City students back in the classroom for the first day of school

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - From a birds eye view, Woodrow Wilson Middle school is a brick building with a number of cars parked around it.

But on the inside, 6th, 7th and 8th graders are learning their schedules and navigating what school is like in-person once again.

“It’s three different schools. You have the 6th grade who are nervous anxious, excited, that still have that elementary component, and then you have 7th graders, which we’ll leave that there, and then you have 8th graders who are ready, and that’s our job, to get them ready for high school,” explained Woodrow Wilson’s principal, Bradley Jenkins. Jenkins is starting his third year at the middle school.

Tuesday morning, Jenkins led superintendent Verletta White through the building to see students in action, masks and all.

“They are happy to have their masks on; they are fine and they are having fun at the same time,” said White.

And there’s no concern if a mask gets lost or forgotten.

“If we need masks for the next 10 years in this building we are probably prepared and that’s if students came without them,” said Jenkins.

The ‘what if’ question still looms though on day one, regarding closing the school doors if COVID cases spread.

“This isn’t new to us; we had cases last year where we had to quarantine some of our students, sometimes a classroom, should we have to do that again, we will to keep everyone safe, but our first measure is in prevention,” said White.

Some parents and students leaned on the side of prevention opting to have another virtual school year.

282 students throughout the district are coming off the wait list this week for virtual learning.

But for the 12,000 students across the district’s 24 schools who got to learn in-person, rejoining their peers this year is the preferred choice.

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