By Kassie Simmons | March 8, 2021 at 11:57 AM EST – Updated March 8 at 10:48 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust visited Bradley Creek Elementary school today.
It’s another back-to-school moment at Bradley Creek Elementary as students used to taking turns in the classroom finally get to learn together.
“I was excited to see all my friends again,” said Sydney Jarrett, a 5th grader. “I haven’t seen them since last year.”
Like all elementary schools, there are now precautions before kids hit the books. Those include a temperature check and a quick COVID survey about symptoms and possible exposure.
Bradley Creek’s principal says this is has been a long time coming and you could see it on the faces of students and staff.
“We’ve had two groups and now they’ve come together, so it’s nice to have them back together again,” said Principal Lauren Kefalonitis. “They were excited to be here. You could see from this morning there wasn’t a lot of separation anxiety. They were just ready to come in and ready to start.”
Kefalonitis says 94 percent of their students were in the classroom together for the first time since March 2020.
“Our administration has been very diligent in making sure that we were prepared,” said Kristy Carter, a teacher at Bradley Creek. “[They’ve been] providing materials that we need, helping set up our classroom to make sure there’s the greatest distance possible between our students, helping us with supplies or wipes or dividers if we need them.”
New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust got a first-hand look at how Plan A played out from safety guidelines to in-class instruction.
“Of course, everyone wants everyone to be safe,” said Foust. “Looking in the rooms, you had the students distanced. They also had their face shields, their shields in front of them for classrooms where they had to sit at the tables together — our little ones. It just made me feel good to know the effort of what our employees do to make sure everyone is safe when they’re entering the building.”
Foust says seeing everything come together was like watching a first day of school — but unlike a return from summer break, students are grateful to be back in the classroom.
“I want to say thank you so much,” said Jarrett. “I’m so excited to be learning in-person again.”
Parents and grandparents were happy too.
NHCS elementary schools moved to Plan A today
“I’m glad they’re in school because it’s been hard for them at home,” grandparent Renee Smith said in the carpool pickup line outside Alderman Elementary School Monday afternoon. “Their mother doesn’t feel like they really learned a lot [from home] so I’m glad that they’re back.”
“I’m extremely excited, it feels like a relief after almost an entire year. I’m happy to be stuck in this traffic right now!” Marilyn Rush said of waiting her turn to pick up her son from his first day of full-time, in-person first grade. “It’s just so nice that there’s going to be consistency hopefully going forward, because we haven’t had that in a long time.”
There are about twice as many kids getting dropped off and picked up at school under Plan A, and twice as many kids to screen in the morning for COVID symptoms, so parents need to allow a little extra time to get through the carpool line. The school system says buses were running on time today despite heavy traffic congestion, but advised parents to check the Parent Portal app for exact drop off and pick up times as they may have changed since the last time your child rode the bus.
Not all students are back in classrooms. Roughly six percent of parents chose to keep their elementary school kids in virtual or remote learning.
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