LYNCHBURG, Va. – Forest Elementary School teachers and students showed up Tuesday prepared to have a successful first day.
“Every student came to school with a mask today, which was really nice,” said Lorri Manley, principal at Forest Elementary School.
Manley said she has 206 students learning in person every day and following social distancing markers on the ground throughout the building.
The challenge was making sure contact surfaces, like the playground, were thoroughly cleaned, according to Manley.
“Every time a class comes out and a class goes back in, that’s custodial cleaning equipment,” Manley said.
In Amherst County, 60% of students will be back in person for the first time on Wednesday.
“We’ve worked really hard and done a lot of preparation and I think it’s time. We’re ready for them to come back,” said superintendent Robert Arnold.
To feel safe coming back, Arnold says staff members are helping students find their classrooms and get used to the new health rules.
“As they start, they’re learning how to be 6 feet apart. They’re learning how to wear their mask. They were doing a great job today. We have to be explicit in our instruction to them,” said Arnold.
They’re giving clear and concise instruction to students while assuring parents their children will be as safe as they can be.
“We’ve used a lot of hand sanitizer today and a lot of paper towels. And you know, we’re gonna figure it all out and every day is going to get a little better than before,” Manley said.
Amherst County school leaders said middle and high school students will be go to school on a hybrid schedule, while elementary school students will be in the classroom four days a week and learn from home on Fridays.
School officials will use that day to disinfect the all the buildings, which is why they’re looking for more substitute custodians, teachers and bus drivers.
“We’re pushing hard to get more substitutes than we normally would. We’ve actually added some custodians. That’s why we’re looking for those things right now. Not that we’re down people, but we’re trying to add more people. It’s going to take more hands to get this done,” Arnold said.
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