Area teachers anxious, excited as first day of school nears

Area teachers anxious, excited as first day of school nears
(Source: Arthur Krijgsman)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When the traditional school calendar begins on August 17th, both Columbus and Pender Counties will begin the new year with kids in the classroom for the first time since mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For teachers at Malpass Corner Elementary School it’s been a long time coming.

“I’m used to giving hugs and high fives on the first day of school so that will have to change, but I’m excited to see their faces again.” Said Ashley Keegan, 4th grade teacher at Malpass Corner Elementary School.

In Pender County K-8 students will be divided into two groups: Group A will receive in-person instruction on Monday and Tuesday; Group B will receive in person instruction on Thursday and Friday. All K-8 students will take part in online learning on Wednesdays.

Traditional high school students will be divided into three groups (A, B, C). Each group will receive in-person instruction for one full week and then take part in online learning for two weeks before starting the rotation again.

“Virtual learning, it was great and we all did what we could do last year but for our students it wasn’t the best option and we made it work for what we had.” Said Exceptional Children Teacher Aubree Garcia. “I mean we’ve done a lot of great things in our school system, we’ve got a lot of great things in place and I think if everyone continues doing what we’re doing now and if we can get our students on board we will be great.”

The return to school will happen with the obvious changes. Kids and any adults in the classroom will be required to wear a face covering. Children will no longer share a desk or table, and cleaning supplies will be more prominent in the classroom. Most of the changes should be somewhat familiar to kids as they’ve practiced safety measures at home.

“Children learn very fast. They’ll pick up on our new normal and it will be routine.” Said 2nd grade teacher Angela Midgette. " I’m used to routine going into the first week then after that you can keep right on flowing, so I would say a few days, a week, then it will be our normal and the regular thing we do and they will be ok with it.'

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