CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – Thousands of students and hundreds of teachers at Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) returned to the classroom Monday after weeks of virtual learning.
The district gave eligible families an option to continue with virtual learning or to send their children to school for hybrid learning two days a week.
One group of in-person learners — which, for now, comprises of students in Pre-K through second grades, sixth grade and ninth grade — start hybrid learning Monday. They go back to the classroom on Tuesday and continue with virtual learning for the rest of the week.
A second group of students will return to the classroom for the first time on Thursday and Friday. Schools will use Wednesday as a deep cleaning day.
Students are required to social distance, wear masks and receive a temperature check.
Data from SCCPSS shows 3,798 students chose the district’s hybrid option and 3,109 chose to continue with virtual learning. Because of demand, some students have been waitlisted for the hybrid option.
Approximately 62 percent of teachers, according to a representative for SCCPSS, chose to continue teaching at home.
Candice Unterein, a kindergarten teacher at Godley Station, chose to teach in person.
“Virtual has been great, it’s been a great month of virtual, but I like to be in the classroom with the kids helping them physically, especially with kindergarten and handwriting,” she said. “It’s their first year of school so I feel like they need hands-on.”
About half of Unterein’s class chose to go back to the classroom. The other half is still at home, but they are able to tune in to the in-person lesson through Zoom.
“I want to be with the kids,” said Unterein.
Garrett Carr, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Godley Station, says she feels the same way. When she is not teaching her hybrid class, she is making sure students are focusing on other virtual classes.
“It was so difficult this morning for them to come into my room and for them to walk by and to not be able to get close to them to provide that comfort — a hand on the shoulder — so that was hard as a teacher,” she said.
For more information on the district’s school plans, visit here.