‘It’s going to be a good year!’ Wakulla County students head back to school
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Almost 90% of Wakulla County students are back in the classroom on Thursday, as the district begins a new school year.
Of the approximately 5,200 students, about 780 opted for distance learning.
“It’s going to be a good year!” said one teacher to every student as she walked them to their vehicles.
Masks are not mandatory in classrooms; however, they are required on buses, and employees are asked to wear them when in close contact with each other.
Superintendent Bobby Pearce says the district is discussing the possibility of requiring masks in hallways during class transition times for secondary students.
“We know that the mask is a good protective measure; they have agreed on that! They’re more protective for others than it is for ourselves, but it does help us. And so we’re trying to make our kids understand that by working together we can stay in school,” said Pearce.
The district is working to remain flexible, adjusting as the situation develops. Pearce says they are in the process of purchasing a laptop or tablet for every single student enrolled in school, even if they are not currently doing the distance learning option; that’s just in case they have to shut down.
Students can always switch from being in person to being digital, but those who sign up for digital have committed to a full semester of being virtual.
Schools have added sanitizing measures, including closing communal water fountains and asking students to bring water bottles from home.
The first few days of the school year will involve some review of material from the spring, and reminding students about sanitizing and following CDC guidelines. The distance learning will begin August 27.
Pearce says the first day went smoothly overall. He says he was happy with some of the social distancing he saw in high school classrooms and wants others to do better but is asking everyone to be patient.
“Whether it be the parent, the student, the teacher, the administrator, all of the workers and staff that work in schools; if we can maintain that and understand that we really don’t need to apply pressure or put timeframes on things right now, we just need to get back to a better sense of normalcy,” said Pearce.
Pre-pandemic, about 80% of students rode the school bus; far more parents were driving their children to school on Thursday, and Pearce says that’s normal for the first day. He says the district is prepared for more children to transition to riding the bus in the next couple of weeks, but he also recognizes that parents driving could be the new normal.
The Wakulla County School District and the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office are asking drivers to be aware of increased traffic around schools.
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