LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - The Lamar County School District will offer students a choice of traditional in-class learning and a virtual learning option this year due to COVID-19.
For those choosing the traditional option, classrooms are going to look a bit different.
“We have high hopes and expectations for learning, growing and coming together, even while at a distance,” said seventh grade Purvis Middle School teacher Brooke Ann McWilliams.
McWilliams says she will have students’ desks spread out for social distancing and will not be allowing students to share any supplies.
“Within our own classrooms, there will be no need for students to share or pass around materials as they’ve done in the past,” McWilliams said. “I will also be working with other staff to make sure students have access to hand sanitizer and sanitary learning spaces now more than ever.”
McWilliams says there are also signs along walls and hallways encouraging students to wash hands, stay 6 feet apart and other helpful reminders.
“That signage that they’ll see around the school will help remind them of the best practices and procedures for keeping themselves and everyone else safe,” McWilliams said.
Heather Adams teaches sixth grade at Oak Grove Middle School.
She says she is going to try to keep things fun and exciting for her students when they get back to her class.
“It is what we make it,” Adams said. “If we make it boring, it’s going to be boring. If they see that we’re excited about what we do and excited about our content area, that excitement is going to rub off on them as well.”
Adams has come up with several ideas for her students when it comes to things like group activities and various projects.
“I’ve come up with some ways that, through some training that I’ve done, they can still do group projects,” Adams said. “It might not look the same way we’re used to doing them, but they can still collaborate with one another through Google slides and other avenues. They can work together and not be right beside each other.”
Both educators say they know this year will be a learn-as-you-go process, but they are keeping a positive outlook.
“I’m excited about what I do,” Adams said. “I love what I do. I love teaching. I’ve missed them. Am I nervous? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t, but through the parameters and precautions that we’ve taken we should have a great year.”
“We’ll all just keep doing the best we can to educate, love and protect one another,” McWilliams said. “I’m lifting us all up in prayer as we all get ready to open our doors and hearts to our wonderful students this year.”
Lamar County schools will begin returning to classes on Aug. 13 and Aug. 14, with all students set to return Aug. 17. You can find more info on the district’s return plan at lamarcountyschools.org.