EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Friday marks 10 weeks since some students returned to the classroom in the Effingham County School District.
While they started the year with around 10,000 students choosing in-person learning, that number grew by nearly 1,000 this week.
“Tuesday was our first day back from Fall Break and we had nearly 950 students step back on campus,” said ECSD Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford.
Those students making the switch from virtual to in-person at schools across the district. Something Dr. Ford says wasn’t initially in the plan.
“Originally we had said that only Elementary students would be able to come back at the nine-week mark.”
But as with many things this year the district adapted.
“We started evaluating grades and the needs of our students, we felt like we needed to open that up to our middle and high school students as well,” said Dr. Ford.
A decision they knew would mean making some serious adjustments inside the schools.
“There’s some transition that with teachers. Some teachers that were teaching virtual had to come back and become a face-to-face brick teacher. We also had to move some students around and that can be painful sometimes.”
Although the district has had its ups and downs since returning to school, Dr. Ford remains confident they made the right choice.
“I still think that opening up school and giving these kids the opportunities that they can’t get back was the right decision.”
Of course, he knows that any plan is only good as those who help see it through.
“We’re so thankful for our teachers and our principals and administrators that’s on the ground level at those schools making it happen for our students and our community.”
While Dr. Ford remains confident, he tells WTOC he’s still moving forward with caution.
“It’s just going to be important for us to not let our guard down and to make sure that we’re, you know, vigilant about what we’re doing inside the buildings.”
Students who chose not to return to in-person learning after nine weeks will not have another opportunity to return to the classroom until after Christmas.
The application process for that is expected to begin late November or early December.