HCS Students Return to Classrooms

Pre-K through eighth-grade students at Huntsville City Schools returned to in-classroom learning on Monday, September 14th and are following a Cohort A/Cohort B schedule to minimize the number of people in a school building at any given time.  High school students returned on Monday, September 21st.  School buildings look a little different this year, with signs marking stairwells as one-way up or down, divider tape in the hallways, and markings on floors to designate social distancing.

Teachers and administrators say they are excited to have been able to welcome students back into schools this week.  Sonnie Hereford III Elementary Principal Anthony Davison says, “The teachers have been overjoyed to actually see the students’ faces right in front of them.”  Monte Sano Elementary Teacher Maria Bryant says, “It’s been a joy to have the students back!”

Jada Frazier, a teacher at Highlands Elementary, mentions that she can see how happy the students are to be back even in how prepared they are.  She says that they knew things would be different, but “they were ready.”  For her, that is a huge motivating factor because you can tell they really want to be there.

Elementary classrooms are all equipped with desk dividers to help create an isolated space for students, and have ample supplies of disinfecting spray, paper towels, and hand sanitizer.  Students are stepping in to help ensure their own personal areas are kept clean, and many are offering to pitch in for their classrooms by asking teachers, “Can I sanitize?”  School custodial staff are doing their part as well, ensuring that teachers have what they need, and that high-impact areas are cleaned regularly.

Another new feature of schools this year is that everyone is wearing protective facial coverings.  “The masks are doing fantastically well,” says Huntsville Junior High Principal Gregory L. Hicks, “the funny thing about the masks is the kids like them!”  He goes on to mention that the students are using them as a form of expression, sporting Superman, Michael Jordan, or other themed protective gear.

The district has worked hard to ensure teachers have what they need, which often involves teacher feedback.  Recently, the district purchased the paid version of Zoom at the request of teachers, which helps them better facilitate virtual communication.  Both Mr. Hicks and Mr. Davison attest that district administrators have been quick to respond when needs are discovered at the school level.

School administrators, teachers, staff, and students are all working together, innovating, and adapting at every step of the way to meet the needs of the district’s students while also promoting a healthy and safe environment.  This is what it means to be #HCSALLIN!

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