BLUFFTON, SC (WSAV) – Classes in Beaufort County start next week, but before that happens, teachers have to get ready.
Even though this year may be different, everyone is still excited to begin the school year.
“So there’s a normal first day and a 2020 first day,” explains Red Cedar Elementary Principal Dr. Kathy Corley.
The first day at Red Cedar Elementary involves a lot of empty hallways and online preparations for teachers.
“We are doing absolutely nothing that has to do with the school as we know it in a building because we will get to that when its time to be face to face again,” said Corley.
Last week was “Leap Week,” which brought excitement to everyone as teachers met their students for the first time.
This week, it’s all about the work.
“We are going to be learning the new platform and we need to get good at it in a real hurry and we need to make sure parents feel comfortable as well,” said Corley.
Last year, teachers were caught off guard by the quick turn to online learning. But administrators say the system in place for the fall is better for everyone.
“This is almost exactly the same as when a teacher is teaching in the classroom,” said Corley. “A teacher teaches for about 15 minutes and then says, ‘I need this person, this person and this person to get started on your work.’ That’s the time you are not in front of the screen, but the teacher is in front of the child still and available.”
“The student is not expected to be staring at the screen,” she added. “The student is now working on his work. [The teacher] says, ‘you are going to come back to me in 20 minutes and share the paragraph you just wrote.'”
School officials expect there to be growing pains for everyone involved, but educators say they’re trying to making it the best system for students stuck at home.
“We never forget who we are planning for,” Corley said. “It is sad when we are not together, but we are committed to making this the best experience we can possibly make it.”
Though learning will look different, students won’t be able to slack off during the school day.
“We can see what’s going on on their screen,” Corley smiled. “We have a way. We didn’t have a way in the spring, so don’t be doing anything you shouldn’t be doing.”
The goal for everyone at Red Cedar Elementary is to make this as normal as possible for students, even as they sit home learning to begin the semester. To that end, teachers and staff have already learned the annual school song.
That will give them a little motivation and fun.