BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Students in Beaufort County had the option to return to school five days a week in person Monday, Jan. 4 for the first time in nearly nine months.
“Getting kids in school, being able to teach face-to-face, is important component I think for them,” Beaufort Schools Superintendent Frank Rodriquez said.
“It’s just nice. It is a progression towards normal,” Battery Creek High School Principal Chad Cox said.
School officials in Beaufort County say they feel confident going back to school five days a week
“While community spread may be high, spread within the schools is fairly low.”
They have spent the last few months monitoring what practices do and do not work and say they are confident with their COVID-19 precautions.
“You know, we’ll keep an eye on it, we will keep monitoring it, if the need arises to quarantine a classroom, we will. If we need to quarantine at grade level, we will if we need to quarantine at school we will. We won’t hesitate to do that.”
Battery Creek is expecting some changes to who will be learning in person and who will be learning virtually.
“It will be at like, 50-50.”
The principal says for many students their education will improve learning in person. But the decision was also social.
“You know, we don’t have lunch anymore. Like they’re used to. The class changes are minimal. You must wear a mask all day. Do you have to be on one side of the hallway? Everybody is spread out. It’s so eerily quiet here during the day. They’re not used to that.”
They say the building will be deep cleaned every evening and over the weekends.
“We are excited to have them back in our buildings, we know it’s going to help them academically and so we look forward to the rest of the school year.”
The superintendent was asked what the school system was planning just in case there is a classroom that cannot be spread out. He said in that situation they have barriers that can go up in between the desks.
“It feels great actually,” junior student Jacove Enperson said.
“It feels pretty good. I don’t mind being back at school,” senior student Matthew Selby said. Several students say it’s the best way of learning for their grades.
“I was always really stressed out about my grades because I always like them to be perfect. And so virtual school was hard for me,” freshman Juliana Riche said.
“I prefer being back in school just because it’s easier for me to learn,” junior Destiny Barker said.
Many say they are excited about one major thing.
“It’s easier to talk to my teachers. It’s easier to talk to everybody else,” senior Aiden Ferguson said.
But even if this year is not what they expected they’re are excited to be around people again.
“Being social. Seeing my friends is still a big one for me.”
“I do like seeing a lot of my friends. It’s really nice.”