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Public and private schools in Leon County prepare for students' return

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 17:22:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Whether virtually or in-person, public and private schools say they're COVID-prepped and ready to reopen.

In Tallahassee, Maclay put up social distancing boards at desks for their students.

"As a school, you have to have your teachers there and they need to feel safe, feel engaged," said James Milford, the head of Maclay School.

This year, students will be walking around campus wearing mandatory masks, have dividers placed between each desk, and cameras in each classroom for those who are choosing to stay home.

Milford says giving people the option to learn from home while keeping them connected with their classmates is a big lesson they learned when the pandemic first started.

"To try to keep our classes together and those connections alive," Milford said. "Because one of the things that we learned back in the spring, is that we could keep the education going but it was the isolation, the social interaction that was really having a lot of negative impacts."

If a student chooses, they may physically attend school whenever they feel comfortable to do so as long as they're healthy.

Although they'll be allowed to choose to come back to the classroom, the intention is not for them to bounce back and forth between virtual learning and in-person.

That's one of the major differences from public school reopening plans, like Leon County.

LCS school leaders continue holding Q&A sessions virtually as they discuss their reopening plans which include the ability to learn virtually or in-person, but students who choose virtual school cannot return until the end of the semester.

Masks will be mandatory with exceptions for those with special needs.

School leaders recognize the start won't be easy, but they're making adjustments so things run as smoothly as possible.

"We're sensitive those needs and we have to work to get creative on how to desensitize these students," said Cathy Shields, with LCS.

Testing will not be required before starting, but LCS will be holding daily health screenings where they check student's temperatures.