ST. LUCIE COUNTY — As college students walked into Lakewood Park Elementary Faculty for the primary time since March, Principal Kerri Walukiewicz felt superior.
“I’ve missed them a lot,” she mentioned. “It is so good to have the youngsters again.”
Walukiewicz had simply spent the morning — alongside with Superintendent E. Wayne Gent, Sheriff Ken Mascara and different district and neighborhood members — welcoming college students again to campus with indicators and air high-fives. Everybody was sporting a masks.
It was their first time again in class since March 13, when the district shut down within the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Slightly below 50% of the district’s roughly 41,000 college students had been anticipated to return to conventional brick-and-mortar classroom Monday, in keeping with officers.
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The vast majority of college students who indicated they’d be attending in-person courses confirmed up on Monday, district spokesperson Lydia Martin mentioned, although precise attendance numbers weren’t but out there.
The rest are starting the varsity 12 months nearly due to the pandemic.
Gent mentioned he was excited for the brand new faculty 12 months to start. The district pushed again its begin date by two weeks to permit lecturers and faculty workers to arrange, he mentioned.
Officers have made certain the right protocols and protections are in place, he mentioned.
Indian River faculties additionally reopened Monday. Martin County reopened Aug. 11.
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In entrance of St. Lucie Elementary Faculty in Fort Pierce, Darrius Thomas, 9, was posing for a standard first-day-of-school picture, sporting a brand new outfit, full with colourful pants and a black masks.
Darrius mentioned he was solely “form of” excited to start out fourth grade as a result of he must put on his masks through the day.
Earlier than strolling him as much as the varsity, his mom, Amy Thomas, peppered him with recommendation. She pulled a small container of hand sanitizer out of his backpack, squeezed the bottle into his palms and informed him to present some to others.
“If anyone coughs, and so they don’t have a masks on and so they’re not attempting to cowl themselves,” Thomas mentioned, “you get out of your chair or wherever you might be and transfer.”
Each Amy Thomas and Darrius’ godmother, Tange Smith, who was sitting within the automotive, felt like he was prepared to return to highschool, however they nonetheless had been nervous.
Smith does not need him to return dwelling and get the entire home sick.
Jennie Waldrop shared Smith’s considerations, which is why she enrolled her two sons — Patrick and Matthew — within the district’s virtual-school choice, MySchool On-line. With “medically fragile” individuals residing in her dwelling, “it is simply safer for them to be dwelling proper now,” she mentioned.
Patrick, 8, started third grade Monday. Patrick was excited to see his classmates and his instructor, however having to go browsing to the classroom via a cellphone wasn’t the very best, he mentioned.
He used his mother’s smartphone when he could not log in to his digital classroom due to a district-wide technical glitch.
The challenge was attributable to community gadget failure, and never by a software program or laptop computer challenge or Monday’s excessive community site visitors, Martin mentioned. The district is engaged on a repair, she mentioned.
Other than technical points, the primary day was a optimistic one, Martin mentioned.
Colleges had been full of indicators and security pointers, site visitors patterns flowed properly and faculties efficiently put in new arrival, dismissal and lunch protocols, she mentioned. College students and lecturers additionally had been all sporting masks and observing well being and security guidelines, she mentioned.
Officers visited a number of faculties through the first day, she mentioned, and it was “very evident faculties had been properly prepped and ready.”
For Walukiewicz, the Lakewood Park principal, teachers will come, however the primary day is extra about ensuring the scholars really feel protected and safe and cherished as they return to colleges, she mentioned.
If college students and lecturers do their half to observe pointers and the district’s reopening plan, she mentioned, “we should always be capable of keep protected.”
Sommer Brugal is TCPalm’s schooling reporter for Indian River, St Lucie and Martin counties. You possibly can sustain with Sommer on Twitter @smbrugal and provides her a name at 772-221-4231.
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