CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Thousands of Tri-county area students returned to their classrooms Wednesday, and for some, it was their first time back in a desk since schools closed because of the pandemic in March.
“We are so excited to have our kids back. There are some kids we haven’t seen since March 16th of last year, and we just miss them,” Devon Forest Elementary Principal Cristie Mitchum said.
The Berkeley County school welcomed 69 more students back for face to face instruction Wednesday, which marked the start of the second nine weeks, and school leaders expect more students to return to their classrooms on Jan. 4.
“Everything we’ve been doing, it seems to be working. So, we just revisited all of that and made sure teachers were prepared for a few more kids in every class,” Mitchum said.
In Berkeley County, every school has a different plan to keep students and teachers healthy and safe during the pandemic, from the cafeteria to classrooms and hallways, even recess continues to look different than years past.
“We’ve tried to use different areas of the school, so not every kid is in the same area and they are staying with their own class,” Mitchum said. “That’s a very important tracing component.”
Berkeley County School District leaders continue to encourage parents to move their kids back to their classrooms.
Across the district, as of Nov. 10, 2,522 students moved to traditional face-to-face instruction, while 96 moved to blended distance learning, and 825 students are still enrolled in the virtual pathway.
More could still change their learning pathways as the deadline for middle and high school students to update their selection isn’t until Nov. 20.
“We do obviously have concerns. We are reaching out to a lot of families if we don’t hear from a child in a few days,” Mitchum said. “We have the social worker going out if we need to. We just really try to keep in touch with all of them.”
In Dorchester County District Two, 8,684 students are now enrolled in the district’s virtual academy, while 16,031 are using the school based hybrid/blended instruction.
DD4 has also seen some increases with 362 students now enrolled in virtual, 871 in hybrid and 903 in face to face instruction.
Meanwhile, the Charleston County School District says more than 5,000 Charleston County students returned to school in-person today and many of them had to transition to different classrooms to accommodate the changes in class sizes.