WAYNE — The halls of elementary, middle and high schools in Wayne County were no longer vacant on Monday.
Wayne moved into the coveted yellow on state’s color-coded COVID-19 map, which allows for face-to-face instruction as well as for athletic teams to resume play.
Though the district officially began instruction last week virtually, students were not able to return in-person due to being in the “orange” category.
Wayne County Superintendent Todd Alexander said the district is very excited to have students back in school.
“In-person instruction is crucial for academic success. We are hopeful that the strategies to lower the spread of COVID-19 will continue to result in a low number of cases in Wayne County so that we can continue to provide in-person instruction and return to a five day a week/traditional schedule as soon as possible,” he said.
Ceredo-Kenova Elementary Principal Deidre Farley said the first day of instruction at school made for a joyous Monday.
“It feels absolutely wonderful to be here and have students here as well,” she said. “We are all so excited to be back, especially the students, and everyone seems to be in a good mood. Everyone is thrilled to finally be back.”
For a school as large as C-K, having students at 50% capacity seems small to Farley, but she said it has allowed her and the faculty to really focus on the students who are present.
“We are able to talk a little more to each student and help them adjust as best we can — which seems to be going very well so far,” she said.
Students in grades 3 to 5 are required to wear masks at all times while moving about the school; six feet of social distance space is required and being observed; and hand-washing as well as sanitizing is being done several times throughout the day. Students are also having their temperatures recorded each morning by faculty.
“For our first day we received no high temperature readings or signs of symptoms from any of our students,” Farley said.
At C-K specifically, precautions have been put in place to keep students safe as well as make everything run smoothly at the large school.
Some of those include moving pre-K to different area for drop off, having two different areas for students to grab breakfast as they go to class in the morning, labeling stairwells for directionality (some used for going up, others for going down), and expanding from three to five lunches.
“The students are adjusting wonderfully to the guidelines and rules. For them, it is almost fun because it is something new,” Farley said. “The only one that they are having a slight bit of trouble with is the six feet rule, but we have stickers on the floors to help them remember and they are starting to get it.”
Wayne County Schools will host another first day of face-to-face instruction Thursday as the other half of students will attend classes.