Behind the scenes look at how Virginia Beach City Schools plan to return to classrooms safely

Posted at 2:31 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 17:15:00-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - We have already gotten a look at what virtual learning looks like for Virginia Beach City Schools students. On Thursday we got a glimpse inside one elementary school welcoming a wave of students back next week.

"What was going through our minds at all time was keeping our staff safe, and students safe but also balancing that against the need to have students in schools," said Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence.

Things look much different inside Red Mill Elementary School which hosted a tour Thursday.

"For children in the classroom they will have a mask on, plexiglass partitions on desks, and three feet of social distancing," said Dr. Michelle Miller, Red Mill Elementary School principal.

The cafeteria also looks much different, kids will enter in a staggered schedule for lunch.

"The amount of kids that can sit at a table went from 12 to three to maintain six feet of social distancing," said Dr. Miller.

Signage is up everywhere to encourage mask wearing, hand washing as well as markers in all hallways for safe distancing practices.

"It is all about changing behaviors and making these things normal," stated Dr. Spence.

Schools will also undergo deep extensive cleaning measures daily.

"We are implementing what we call enhanced cleaning protocols and cleaning surfaces more frequently," said Chief Operations Officer Jack Freeman.

School buses have also been outfitted for safety. Children have to wear a mask before riding, and they will be assigned seats through the entire school year. Capacity has also been lowered with no more than 44 kids on a bus at any given time.

"Our commitment has been to get children back as safely and quickly as we could, not only are we are ready but we are excited. Its been since March since we have had children with us," said Dr. Spence.

The school system is operating on a staggered return. To check your child's schedule click here.