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Virginia Beach school prepares for second year of pandemic learning

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Posted at 6:23 PM, Sep 07, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The first days of school means going over some rules. Rule number one in the classroom belonging to Kelsey Pugh, better known as Ms. Pugh, is be kind.

Rule number two: Wear masks and stay clean.

“I said to my staff, ‘Linear functions are important, but not as important as being happy and healthy,’” said Tidewater Collegiate Academy Director Wendy Scott.

Tidewater Collegiate Academy is a private school that serves kids in pre-K through 12th grade.

“It’s kind of harder to interact with people if you’re on a call with people because you have to talk to them through chat. Instead, you can actually talk to them face-to-face” said Reagan Napierski.

Students like Reagan are excited to be back in class, and it seems, so are the parents.

“Parents are bringing in Clorox wipes; they’re helping clean; they’re buying extra masks and others are like, 'What do you need?'" said Scott.

Everyone is coming together as safely as possible for one reason: The students.

“I think when that happens, good things happen despite the challenges,” said Scott.

Tidewater Collegiate Academy has had their share of obstacles. They had cases of COVID-19 last year, but with a strong plan in place, everybody is healthy and moving forward.

“We are utilizing the outside as much as humanly possible, so we got extra picnic tables, we got lap desks and picnic blankets,” said Scott.

When students are inside, Clorox wipes are ready to use on every table.

“The protocols that we put in place serve a purpose, and that this isn’t something that we’re just reading about in articles and we’re just watching the news clips on - it is a real thing. It’s hitting families very close to us," said Ms. Pugh.

Pugh knows the concerns not just as a teacher, but a parent, too.

“I do feel safe because the adults around me are taking all the precautions to keep him safe,” she explained.

Students know the pandemic brings its own set of challenges, but if they’re anything like Reagan, they’re confident they can take them on.

Related: Newport News teacher expresses COVID-19 concerns as new school year begins

“I feel like you just have to be a little more aware of what’s going on, but if you just follow guidelines, it’ll be really easy to socialize with people,” said Reagan.

Click here for more Safely at School coverage.