Daviess County Public Schools opened classroom doors again for nearly half of their PreK-8th grade students Monday. For the first time since mid-March, students, teachers and administrators came together to begin navigating their way back to a semblance of normalcy.
All students were required to wear masks and social distance throughout the day.
Roughly 80% of students are beginning in-person classes this week under the A/B model adopted by DCPS — with half attending Monday and Tuesday and the rest on Thursday and Friday.
The remaining 20% of students are enrolled in the DCPS Virtual Academy — an online-only option this semester.
With less than half of the students attending in-person classes, hallways and classrooms were far less crowded than usual Monday.
Burns Middle School Principal Dane Ferguson said he believed that made things easier for students and staff.
“Some students were nervous about coming back to crowded hallways and classrooms,” Ferguson said. “During class changes, we have the students walk down the right side of the hallway and I can stand in the middle of the hallway without being bumped and moved. I think that made it easier for students and staff.”
Almost all of the students followed the rules pertaining to mask-wearing and social distancing, Ferguson said.
While students used to go to lunch with everyone in their grade, they now just go with those in their classroom.
“In the commons area, everyone’s sitting 6 feet apart, and there’s 8-16 students per class — 16 is our largest,” he said. “We space out each classroom that goes through the cafeteria line by two to three minutes, which gives them plenty of time to get through the line safely.”
All car-riders were called out individually through radio communication between Ferguson, who stood outside with the line of parents, and staff who waited with the students indoors. Despite being called out one-by-one, all of the students were picked up within 30 minutes.
Despite all of the changes, those who attended an after-school faculty meeting agreed that Monday went better than expected.
“I think the students are glad to get back to a little normalcy and see their teachers,” Ferguson said. “As we were dismissing and I was talking to parents, they seemed really excited for their kids to be back in school.”