Forest Middle School makes final touches on new building, safety plans

Bedford County students start Sept. 9

In about two weeks some Bedford County students will be back in the classroom learning in unusual circumstances. (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

FOREST, Va. – Forest Middle School teachers are back finalizing classroom and safety plans.

At the same time, you can hear construction workers putting final touches to the building.

Principal Scott Simmons says the new wing has over 20 classrooms and is centered around the idea that learning can happen anywhere.

“Not only in classrooms but corridors, nooks, and crannies in the building. All designed with places where kids can meet together,” Scott Simmons, principal, said.

Students who walk through the building notice bits of Bedford County sprinkled in pictures, including one taken by one of their teachers. It also includes factoids about the county’s most popular mountains like Sharp Top.

“I think it kind of brings together the sense of community in our place in Bedford County,” Simmons said.

School officials are expecting about 560 students on the first day

Students will stay put while teachers move classroom to classroom.

And to keep students at least 6 feet apart, class sizes have been cut in half to accommodate 12 to 15 students.

“In order to do that we had to use every room in the building,” Simmons said.

And in every room will be fourth through sixth graders, not the usual sixth through eighth-grade students.

“I think they’re just going to be, hopefully, wowed when they walk in. Kind of forget some of the anxiety they may have had,” Simmons said.

Students go back on Sept. 9. School leaders say an additional 200 students have chosen to participate in 100-percent virtual learning.