Parents, students at St. Timothy’s in Raleigh eager to return to school

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On March 9, St. Timothy’s Episcopal School in Raleigh was bustling with students as CBS 17 visited to find out what the school’s plan was if coronavirus meant shutting it down.

Nine days later, math teacher Sarah Little was preparing for long-distance learning after classrooms were indeed shuttered.

Parents, students, and teachers are ready to get back into the building in August.

“We have a plan, but we really have plan A, B, C. It’s more of a playbook than a plan. It says if things look this way, then here’s what we do. If things look differently, then here’s what we do, and they all involve following CDC and NCDHHS guidelines every step of the way,” said Head of School Tim Tinnesz.

Like a time capsule, the last thing written on the board can still be seen: the March 10 Democratic Primary. There is a lot that has changed, though. That includes the spacing of desks.

“It starts by looking at the spaces, and we’ve done that,” Tinnesz said. “Then it gets into scheduling. OK, now how do we schedule those spaces? And it gets in the personnel. And do we have enough people to cover spaces? And who needs to have a different assignment from what they traditionally have to make sure that we can facilitate classroom in a safe and responsible way?”

All those measures, including thorough cleaning, are important to parent Celeste Neuville and her incoming seventh grader, Ava.

“During the coronavirus, we were very fortunate they made the transition so easy. We just want to make sure that all of the social distancing practices are in place, masks if necessary. My mother, Ava’s grandmother, is 80 years old and she lives with us, so we have that special situation we’re dealing with and children can be asymptomatic carriers,” Neuville said.

Some classes, like music and art, may alternate by month. There will also be no large gatherings.

“The dining hall, we’re actually looking at using that as classroom space and (for) recess. Fortunately, we’ve got some wonderful outdoor space, so we’ll run our recesses socially distanced,” Tinnesz said. “Lunches will be with small groups, cohort groups, around campus (and) hopefully outside and inside if weather doesn’t cooperate.”

St. Timothy’s has seen an increase in inquiries since the pandemic began. Parents are looking for a smaller class setting for their children.

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