Teachers in Roanoke County prepare for students’ return to in-person learning


ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Teachers in Roanoke County are getting ready to welcome students back in less than two weeks.

WFXR News got a look inside Fort Lewis Elementary School on Wednesday, Aug. 12, while teachers prepared for the big return.

“I’m always excited for school. I love coming back to school,” said fifth grade teacher Lauren Peters.

Peters says she knows that this year is going to be different, with one of the biggest hurdles being social distancing.

“I am a teacher that has always been one for, ‘Alright, let’s get up and move! And we’re going to work in groups and we’re going to go over here. And let’s play this game together.’ Ummm… I’m going to have to re-vamp some things,” Peters said.

According to Peters, she’s going to count on electronic tools to help with this new school year.

“I think the use of technology is going to be what we need this year. Providing them with things to do online, even if it is in the classroom, so that we’re not sharing so many materials.”

Peters’ fifth grade students will only come two days a week, while younger students — like DeeDe Clifford and Joy Watson’s second graders — will be there five days a week.

“They’re stuck in this classroom all day. We rotate, so we go from class to class so the kids never move and aren’t exposed to anybody else’s belongings, so we’re going to try to incorporate a lot of movement breaks within the room,” said Clifford.

While many have expressed concern that younger students will have a harder time with social distancing, Watson says summer school showed them that may not be the case.

“What we saw in summer school is that they’ve already been kind of trained through the summer and most of them knew exactly what to do,” said Watson. “I was shocked we didn’t have to tell them more or correct them. They were really good about it.”

The teachers say despite the adjustment, they look forward to making the most of this year.

However, since students received the option to return to school 100 percent online if they — and their families — want, not all students will return to the building.

The teachers have been asked about 30 minute video sessions during the day with their students. Peters says there is an expectation they see every student every day, even if it’s not in their classroom.

Click here to view Roanoke County Public Schools’ hybrid plan.

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