HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - In less than two weeks, the Hattiesburg Public School District will open with kids in the classroom. There have been questions and concerns about going back to school safely, for both students and teachers.
Two Hattiesburg Public School District teachers explained this school year comes with unique challenges.
Math teacher Courtney Golden said she will start her seventh year of teaching with the Hattiesburg Public School District on Aug. 10.
“I am the Math Interventionist for Grace Christian Elementary,” Grace said. “I am responsible for grades K through fifth grade.”
Golden said she is fully aware of the novel challenges this new year presents and understands the worries she’s heard from parents.
“They have that reservation with ‘Will we be able to keep them at 6 feet apart at all times?‘ But we do have things in place: kids will be spaced out, children will have to wear their masks all day, every day,” Golden said. “So they will be protected against sneezing and coughing and touching each other. We’ll be able to keep them spaced out as well as we have a smaller classroom teacher-student ratio.”
Larry Duncan, a second grade math and science teacher, has been teaching for 14 years and has this message for parents.
“We are comfortable with coming back, so if I am comfortable in this situation then your child should be comfortable with coming into my classroom,” Duncan said. “There might be things that pop up that might be out of our control and most things will be played day-by-day to make sure that not only are the students are safe, but the parents and teachers are safe as well.”
Duncan said part of that safety will challenge his out-of-box, hands-on teaching style, staying socially distant.
“Just the unknown, unknown is my biggest concern,” Duncan said. “How to actually interact with a child one on one and be 6 feet apart.”
Both Golden and Duncan want the students and parents of the Hattiesburg Public School District to understand this school year will take effort on everyone’s part, and the teachers are prepared to rise to the occasion.
“Things might not work out the first time, so we might have to go to plan B, but know that your child’s safety is our number one priority,” Duncan said.
“Stay tuned and watch and see how we take on COVID-19 and still strive for excellence!,” Golden said.
Both teachers added with all the procedures that the district plans to put in place with hand washing and distancing, they don’t have any concerns for their health.
The school district will be offering a virtual learning option. To learn more about it, visit hattiesburgpsd.com.
You can view the district’s full hybrid calendar here.