After nearly a year away from classroom due to pandemic, students return to Raleigh high school

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)– Wednesday marked the first day back for some students at Enloe High School in Raleigh after nearly a year away from the classroom.

Students in masks lined up outside to get screened before entering the building, as the return to the classroom comes with safety precautions in place.

“Since March of 2020, we have been working on the safe return of teachers and our students,” said principal Will Chavis. 

Everyone gets their temperature checked before walking inside. Hand sanitizing stations are spread throughout the hallways and so are signs and markers reminding students of the 3 W’s – washing hands, wearing a mask, and waiting six feet apart.

“I’m excited to be back in the building, getting back in front of teachers, and even be with the very few students that are going to be here,” said 11th grader Jayden Morrison.

Students are returning in three-week rotations, with one week learning in person, and two weeks virtual. Morrison is one of the 660 students that opted to return to in person learning at Enloe High.

Chavis says 1,700 chose to remain learning virtually.

“Our teachers are teaching students both face to face and in the remote setting, so that’s going to be a different change for our students and teachers,” said Chavis.

This school year will be an adjustment for everyone. Trudy Price O’Neil has been teaching here for 15 years. She told CBS 17 she’s excited to be back and to meet her new students for the first time face-to-face.

“I don’t think any of us knew the extent to which we were going to be away from the classroom. Every day was an adventure.”

She says Wednesday is like the first day of school all over again, an exciting and nerve-racking time for students and teachers

“I don’t have 35 desks in my room anymore, I only have 7 desks, but I feel excited and prepared for those students who are coming.”

CBS 17 did not see more than 6 students spread out in a classroom, some only had one one. This school year the preparation is focused on safety.

“I feel comfortable if everyone would just follow the guidelines, follow the rules I feel like we’ll be fine,” said Morrison.

Price-O’Neil added she feels safe returning to the classroom but getting vaccinated would add a layer of protection.

“Of course, I wish I had a vaccine, and I can’t wait to get one I would feel even safer if I had one.”

Teachers are included in Group 3 of the state’s vaccine rollout which is set to begin on February 24.

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