Take a look inside a Person County school opening for in-person instruction

Monday, August 10, 2020
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While most districts in our area will start schools virtually, a few are opening to in-person instruction next week.

PERSON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- While most districts in our area will start schools virtually, a few are opening to in-person instruction next week.

Sixty-five percent of students who go to Person County Schools will start school in-person next week. The district has just over 4,300 students.

Students will be split in two groups and they'll go to school for in-person instruction twice a week. The first group will attend Mondays and Tuesdays and the second group will attend Thursdays and Fridays. The rest of the time they'll learn virtually, as will the approximately 1,500 students who opted to learn from home for the full semester.

ABC11 went to Stories Creek Elementary in Roxboro to see what students will experience come Monday.

Every student and staff member must complete a screening, including a temperature check, before entering schools.

Find your school district's reopening plans

"It'll probably move a little slower than what they're used to," said Dusty Martin, the principal at Stories Creek Elementary. "But I think that's a precaution that all parents are willing to take if they've elected for their students to come back face-to-face."

"We've sent out messages to our parents to be patient with us and have some compassion to us," said Superintendent Rodney Peterson. "But we want to make sure that the safety is of utmost importance to both our staff and our students."

Do you have questions about sending your child back to school? Let us know.

If the process takes too long for bus riders, they'll be taken into the gym where they'll be screened. They'll stand in line six feet apart while they wait.

Classes will be set up differently, with at least six feet between desks. Plexiglass will be installed around teacher's desks.

All staff and students must wear a mask, unless they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing one. There will be hand sanitizer and plenty of soap and water at schools.

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Students will get their lunches in the cafeteria, while spaced 6 feet apart, but they'll eat in their classrooms.

Students won't be able to drink from the water fountains but can use them as a place to refill water bottles.

RELATED: What could learning be like during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The capacity inside buses has been slashed by about one-third from 60 to 75 students to 18-23 students per bus. Two of the district's 75 buses will complete double routes to ensure all students get picked up while socially distancing. District officials said there will be a focus on cleaning buses and schools, with schools getting cleaned every day and a deep cleaning on Wednesdays.

A district spokeswoman said if there are COVID-19 cases among students or staff, they'll comply with guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on whether any closures will be necessary.

Peterson said they sent out a survey, and 65 percent of parents chose face-to-face instruction.

"I really believe we're as prepared as we're going to be to come back to school," Peterson said. "Our metrics is allowing us to come back to school."

You can use this interactive tool to find whether your student's school district plans to start in-person or virtually: