CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Chesapeake Public Schools is set to bring some of its youngest students back to classrooms on Monday.
According to the division's back to school plan, that includes the school’s special education, preschool and kindergarten students whose families who didn’t choose to have them do remote learning for a full semester.
At B.M Williams Primary School, Principal Brighid Gates said that’s at least 150 students.
So, how does the school plan to keep everyone inside the building safe?
Gates said the school has put new health safety steps in place.
“A lot of work has gone into it,” said Gates.
For starters, staff members only will unload or load one or two school buses at a time.
“Fewer kids in the hallway,” said Gates. That way, everyone can distance themselves from one another.
As students head to their classrooms, they’ll find themselves in hallways where people are only allowed to walk in one direction.
In the classrooms themselves, teachers will have students spread three feet apart, and students will be wearing masks. That goes for Katherine Matthews' class, too.
“I am excited to meet them in person and see their little faces - from behind a mask,” said Matthews.
She said there always is a bit of anxiety surrounding a new school year.
“Obviously this year we are nervous for reasons we’ve never been nervous before,” Matthews explained.
However, she finds peace of mind knowing that every teacher has a safety kit with refillable sanitizing wipes and personal protective equipment.
The safety precautions are reassuring parents, too.
Matthews said, “Most of the parents that I’ve heard from are excited to have their kids back.”
“I’m happy to get kids back to the building," said Principal Gates. "You know that’s what we’re here for. My purpose is for kids, and students and teachers.”
Now, she hopes that students will be able to stay in the school buildings.
“Hopefully we can," Gates said. "With all of the health mitigation strategies we’ve put in place we are going to be OK."