Students return to school on Monday

Students+will+return+to+school+on+Monday%2C+October+12+using+a+hybrid+model.+Students+are+required+to+wear+masks+while+on+buses.+

Students will return to school on Monday, October 12 using a hybrid model. Students are required to wear masks while on buses.

Daniella Espinoza  , Editor-in-Chief

Students in grades 4-12 across Pittsylvania County Schools will be returning to school using a hybrid model on Monday, October 12. Pittsylvania County Schools released this video with opening of school procedures highlighted.  

Students have been assigned either letter A (Monday, Thursday) or B (Tuesday, Friday) with Wednesday set aside for deep cleaning and remote learning. Students also have the option to stay fully remote. Students in grades 4-12 will join PK-3 students and juniors and seniors at the Pittsylvania County Career and Technical Center who returned to in-person learning on Monday, September 28 .     

Pittsylvania Career and Technical Students (also referred to as PCTC or Vo-Tech) students have been back to in person learning for approximately two weeks. PCTC is known for providing a hands-on learning environment for students, which has been altered to meet guidelines. “We’re only allowed to go to the bathrooms connected to the shop and classroom, just in case a student who attends has the virus,” said senior Thomas Moore. 

Senior Ivana Broady who is a cosmetology student said, “Going to school in person last week was rather difficult because we had to do everything with our masks on and be socially distanced.”

The classrooms themselves will look different at Tunstall with students spaced out and facing the same direction. Masks will be required when on buses, in the hallways, and anytime 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.   

Arrival to school will be staggered and will begin with car riders starting to arrive at 7:45. These students will have their temperatures taken before coming into the building. Parents of car riders should not leave until students have had a clear health screening. Bus riders will have their temperature taken as they load the bus and will start to arrive at school at 7:55. Finally, students who drive will arrive and be screened beginning at 8:05. 

Each student in Pittsylvania County Schools will receive free breakfast and lunch each day during the 2020-2021 school year. Students will eat these meals in their 1st and 3rd period classes, respectively. Large trash cans will be provided for meal trash and special arrangements are being made for classes where students are not allowed to eat such as computer labs. 

Students who are staying at home may request meals for the week to be picked up on Wednesdays. Students that are hybrid will be sent home with meals for the days that they are not in school including Wednesdays. 

The school day will officially begin at 8:25 with the following schedule:

1st period–8:25-9:55

2nd period–10:00–11:25

3rd period–11:30-1:30

4th period–1:35-3:00

Students will only have 5 minutes between classes (instead of the 7 minutes used in the past)  and will only be allowed to visit lockers before and after school. Desks will be sprayed with a special disinfectant and wiped down between each class period. 

Students who are learning remotely full time and on the hybrid schedule will be working on assignments at home and logging into Google Meets at the direction of their teachers. 

Many students have made the decision to stay fully remote and that number continues to rise. There were various factors that played a role in students and parents deciding that remote learning was the best choice. “Just the fact that if one person at school got [COVID-19] we might get shut down. I like virtual learning because I can pace myself,” said senior Haley Ford. 

Junior Julee Myers felt that staying at home is the best choice for her. “Honestly I decided on my own to do virtual. It’s much easier on my mental health than in person school, and my parents wholeheartedly agree with me. Plus it’s much safer.” 

Dismissal for hybrid students will also be staggered with students with private transportation (drivers and car riders) being dismissed at 3:00pm. Buses will be dismissed in three loads between 3:04-3:14.   

More information about the opening of school procedures was shared with students and parents through a SchoolMessenger call.