Wake County teachers prepare classroom, hope in-person learning sticks

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's a school year like no other and Aaron Steele is determined to hit the ground running as he sets up his art classroom at Willow Springs Hgh School. With a new school and a new year come wonder and excitement

"We're all prep, doing something called modern classroom, I think will actually help our students a little bit in this different atmosphere, and help us as teachers deliver lessons that are more student-focused, and just honestly, to make them better learners," Steele said.

This will be helpful since many students have not seen the inside of a classroom in more than a year.

And this year, COVID-19 safety is at the forefront

"We've actually put so much measures in place in Wake County that a lot of the things they do for us from supplying all the PP kits to putting protocols in place that should help us out and feel more comfortable in our setting," he said.

In addition to mask-wearing, everyone is encouraged to practice physical distancing when possible. Steele's students will be working in small groups throughout the day

Down the hall, Jerry Price is putting the finishing touches on his science room with added sanitary items to keep everyone healthy.

"I always asked for paper towels to clean with and sanitizers; I know we have brand new bottles that I've actually installed them on the wall, they were already in the room," Price said. "So, we're prepared to, you know, have hands sanitized periodically throughout the day.

He is as ready as anyone to get back to in-person learning.

"I'm the type of teacher that I like to have fun. I like to make people laugh. I do like, come to work to learn and my students leave, you know, gaining knowledge, but I like to have fun with them," he added. "And I guess it's hard to do that through the computer. Last year, I was really teaching to icons on the screen. And so, I never really felt like I was teaching the human being; I was teaching to a computer screen."

But he also has his worries with COVID cases and hospitalizations on the rise.

"I guess I think what I'm worried is, are we going to have to go virtual? Are we going to have students' high attendance rate coming to school? Am I going to have to teach students at home and at school again? he said. "It'd be a hybrid teacher. I mean, those are kind of some of the things that I'm concerned about what's really the scheduling."

The Wake County school district said its first concern is safety and is confident its protocols in place will help fight COVID-19 and any concerns going forward.
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