Beaufort Co. teachers reflect on challenging year

The Beaufort County Schools District is expected to address a photo that has been circulating...
The Beaufort County Schools District is expected to address a photo that has been circulating social media.(WTOC)
Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 3:52 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Last fall, when students went to class in Beaufort County, they entered a space that was far from usual.

Now, as the school year comes to an end, things look a little bit different.

When school began in Beaufort County students were required to stay masked up, 6 feet apart, and many were not even there, choosing to learn online instead.

But as the year progressed many of those precautions were dropped, and although we’re not back to normal, many things have changed.

“We appreciate each other a lot more.”

As the school year wraps up, many teachers are looking back on how things began.

“My classroom at the beginning of the year looks like my office. Well, my husband’s office,” fourth grade teacher Maria Kennedy said.

Whether that was the first few weeks virtually learning, or when kids finally got back into the buildings

“When the kids came back, they were kind of like kids sometimes are at the beginning of the year. They were a little quieter, they were a little unsure,” fifth grade teacher Virginia Pratt said.

When kids returned to class sizes were cut in half. Now, many kids are back in the buildings full-time.

“All of my students eventually, by the beginning of fourth quarter, made it back into the building.”

But they say through this year, students and teachers have gotten to learning grow a lot.

“The transition of having all the kids here in-person has been much better. There’s a lot more room for engagement, a lot more time for certain lessons I want to plan, so it’s been a good transition.”

Now, parents choose whether their child hast to wear a mask. As precautions are lifted, teachers say more students are eager to learn.

“They’ve been so resilient and jumping and diving right back in. They are happy to be with each other again, too.”

There are still precautions in place. Plexiglass barriers are still up, and children eat inside their classroom.

“It’s still very different, obviously. We haven’t met as a whole school, at all.”

Red Cedar Elementary even has 43 students still learning virtually. But in many ways, school is back to a more normal version of itself.

“At least we are all getting back into the building at this point which is, a nice change.”

And teachers say they are excited for what that will do in the next year.

“Hopefully, next year will be a little bit more normal whatever normal may look like.”

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