PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–Each summer, teachers prepare for a classroom of kids. But this year, their preparation is looking a little bit different. Changes in class size, new rules, and more cleaning are just a few adjustments they must get used to.
At Northside Elementary School, Mrs. Quimuyog has been a teacher for 28 years. But all of her experience never quite prepared her for teaching amid a pandemic.
“It has put a little extra stress that we’re ready to do but it has been difficult,” said Pam Quimuyog.
Ahead of the first day, Quimuyog, like many other teachers in the district, has had to make many changes.
“I have desks separated between 3 and 6 feet apart, 1 student per table where before we always had 4 students at a table,” said Quimuyog.
Students in Quimuyog’s class and throughout the district will wear masks and practice extra hand washing to keep germs at bay. Plastic dividers will also be in use.
“Other changes, we’re really focusing on teaching our children about social distancing, about their safety, because we want them to know that they are safe at school,” said Quimuyog.
As parents get ready to send their children back, many are concerned. The district hopes some of that stress will be alleviated after orientation.
“Looking at the classroom and walking through the halls, I’m really confident that Northside will do a great job in keeping all of our kids safe,” said Brittney Grady, a mother of a Northside Elementary student.
While some kids will return to brick and mortar, others will take a virtual route. Quimuyog assures parents the two options will not interfere with each other.
“School in class is going to go on like it always,” said Quimuyog.
Quimuyog says Bay Link students will join the class virtually twice a day for a half-hour at a time. Other than that, they’ll be working independently.
“I think it will be fun if we all get a chance to come back to school, be safe, and wear a mask,” said Madison Grady, a 2nd grader who says she is excited for the first day of class.
Bay District students will return to class on August 20th.