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Hampton City Schools shares plan to protect students, teachers returning to classrooms

From the air, to the ground and high touch surfaces, Hampton City School officials said they've taken precautions to protect people as much as possible from COVID-19

HAMPTON, Va. — Hampton City Schools just announced its plans to bring some students back into the classrooms, starting on November 4. 

That includes some pre-K through third grade students, sixth graders and vulnerable students in all grades.

Since the announcement, teachers and students with the "Red 4 Ed" group vocalized their concerns and said it’s too soon to return to face-to-face learning.

The division gave 13News Now, your Back to School Station, an inside look at new precautions in place to protect everyone in its buildings.

We spoke with the school division’s chief operations officer, Daniel Bowling, Ph.D. 

Bowling said students and staff going into Hampton City Schools would return to a very new environment inside the schools.

“So, we really feel like they have gone above and beyond to provide as much P.P.E, air quality, and also enhanced cleaning,” he explained.

He said they kick-started this change with training. “That encompasses retraining of our custodial staff,” Bowling said.

He said everyone was up to speed on increased cleaning procedures, and they were ready to sanitize surfaces inside the building multiple ways.

“So first of all, we wipe it down and clean it," Bowling explained. "Then we can go back in with the electrostatic sprayers and that’s about as sanitized as you can get. That’s pretty much what hospitals do.”

Those are upgraded disinfectants for surfaces, but that won’t always protect you from a virus that’s air-born, like COVID-19.

Bowling said the district addressed that too.

“We’re really excited about the fact that we have actually provided for every classroom, 2,700 air purifiers,” said Bowling.

Also, in every classroom, you’ll see hand sanitizing stations.

Teachers will have their own disinfecting spray bottles and tubs of wipes.

As for students, “Every student in Hampton city schools will have a trifold desk shield,” Bowling said.

Faculty and students will get facemasks and face shields; that’s at least 30,000 of them.

With all of the changes in the air, on surfaces and equipment for people, Bowling said the district was doing all it could to protect everyone at school.

“I think the combination of those three really provides a safe environment for the return of our students,” Bowling said.

He said the division surveyed staff multiple times before coming up with this plan.

After students have returned, the division plans to survey the staff again.