Shenandoah County Public Schools welcomes students back to school in hybrid-learning model

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 7:48 PM EDT
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SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - On Monday, almost half the number of students in Shenandoah County returned back to class under the school division’s hybrid-learning model.

Students in grades Pre-K through 5th grade are now back in school four days a week and students in sixth through 12th grade are back in class one day a week depending on their last name.

This was the original plan the school division had in place earlier this summer for this school year but because of the number of COVID-19 cases in the area, all students started virtually on Aug. 31.

For many, Monday was the first day back in the buildings but for Ben Bailey, the new principal of Ashby-Lee Elementary School, it was the first time he ever had any students.

“It’s been great, we’ve been talking about horseback riding, Marvel Comics, camping, fishing, hiking, you know kids talking about hunting and shooting bows it was great,” Bailey said after monitoring the lunchroom of the school.

On Monday, the school division had close to 2,500 students return back in class.

Dr. Mark Johnston, the school division’s superintendent, said for the most part it felt like a normal school day.

Social distancing measures are put into place in every classroom space in the building and students are reminded to wear their masks when walking around the buildings.

“Our students are great at wearing their mask while they’re in motion and everybody’s having a good time," Johnston said. "Everyone’s adjusting well and I think everybody understands that to stay in school we all need to do our part.”

Bailey said while the division returned back on Monday, many staff members are still working hard on improving student pick-ups for parents and making sure to focus on students who are still learning virtually.

Friday’s in the school division are set aside as an at-home learning day for all.

Johnston said Monday was a huge milestone for SCPS and the next step is to be able to get more students on school buses.

“This has been a difficult time for our staff, students, and parents and we recognize and appreciate their patience and consideration for changes," Johnston said. “I want to thank our staff who has worked like crazy to make sure yesterday could come and the next days can come so we can stay in school.”

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