Students in Mansfield ISD returned to in-person learning Tuesday morning for the first time in months.
On Aug. 12 school started online, but on Sept. 8, families who signed up were able to send their kids back to the classroom if they wanted to.
"I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of excitement in the air today because we finally get kids back in the building," Donna Shepard Leadership Academy Principal Matthew Brown said. “Although I think our district has done an amazing job of extending that remote learning and continuing the virtual learning in the district, there’s nothing like having kids in the building.”
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Brown said in total the intermediate school had 942 students. About 65% -- 616 students -- returned to the classroom and 35% -- 326 students -- continued online learning from home.
"We have teachers that are working in the virtual academy 100% of the time and then a few teachers that are doing like one class of virtual and two classes of face-to-face, and then of course we have teachers fully face-to-face," Brown said.
He said the staffing was based on the kids' needs and to keep them up-to-date with the curriculum.
The other aspect is to make sure students and staff stay healthy.
Brown said Mansfield ISD has protocols in place to ensure social distancing, sanitation and mask-wearing.
For example, Brown said the cafeteria has partitions and dividers that separate the students to minimize spreading germs. He said students have assigned seats so they can track students in the event there's someone who is exposed to COVID-19.
He said all the furniture is spread out and crews are constantly cleaning high-touch surfaces.
"I mean it looks a little different in terms of how the kids are spaced and structured out, but what I can tell you is that the instruction is still engaging, our teachers are still working really hard to make those moments where learning can happen and where we can work together as a team in the classroom with kids, where those things are impactful because you know kids need to kids need to be engaged and they need to be excited about learning," Brown said.
He said if a student or staff member is exposed to the coronanvirus everyone and their families will be notified and if needed, people will be asked to quarantine. He said from there they would follow protocol to disinfect the areas with which the person had contact.