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Nearly 1,000 Columbia County students are heading back to the classroom

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Some classrooms are getting ready for a wave of new students as over a thousand Columbia County students are making the switch from virtual learning to in-person classes.

It’s something the system is offering students as it works towards bringing back everyone to the school buildings. Some families say it’s the right move for them.

After weeks of waiting, families that are still deciding to have their kids return to school believe the questions surrounding in-person learning have been answered.

Students that are learning virtually for the past nine weeks will soon be able to return to school.

“They’re doing well online, but it’s not the optimal choice for us," Columbia County parent Storm McClure said.

McClure, a mother of four, decided to send two of her kids back to Riverside Middle School.

“My children’s mental health is one reason. They need to be back in-person," McClure said. “They need to be able to be in contact with other people and they learn better in school.”

The school system says there will be almost 1,000 students coming back into the classrooms -- around 600 for elementary and around 400 for middle school.

But here’s the catch -- parents can’t switch back during the nine weeks.

Jeff Carney, associate superintendent of Columbia County schools, says it’s easier to keep everyone on the same page and in the same place.

“It is a major scheduling issue for us to be able to accommodate, you know, a thousand kids going in one direction. If we start having them go back, it disrupts the schedule of the kids in the classroom,” he said.

Carney says these schools are cleaner than ever and they’re ready to welcome back every student.

“There’s no substitute for an in-person teacher," Carney said. "So, the more we can get back into the classroom, the more we want to do,” he said.

Even when there were a lot of unknowns to start the year for mom McClure, she says they are happy with their decision.

“We’re just trying to kind of roll with it. These are unprecedented times as we hear over and over and so we’re just trying to roll with it,” she said.

Parents who want to switch their Columbia County students to in-person classes can visit the school system’s website for more information.

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