VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Volusia County students return to the classroom on Aug. 16. Like many districts, teachers in the county have been debating what level of protection they should have in their classrooms as COVID-19 cases spike and just this week, the superintendent announced some last-minute changes to protocol.
Spruce Creek Elementary School teacher Karen Weinrich hit the classroom to set up weeks in advance of her students’ arrival.
“For now, we’re hoping it’s back to our whole normal routine where the kids can be in smaller groups and interact with each other,” she said.
Weinrich has last year’s desk dividers on hand just in case, but she’s keeping the school supply list basic.
“We’re not asking for much extra. It’s going to be the basic things. Last year, we weren’t allowed to share supplies so everyone had to have their own crayons, their own markers, they’re own everything so we will kind of wait to see what the directive is with that,” she said.
Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz said the district has supplies stocked up and personal protective equipment kits with wipes and hand sanitizer ready for all teachers.
On Thursday, he made masks mandatory for all teachers, staff and visitors while they are inside on school campuses. The mandate will last thirty days.
“We’re making sure our classrooms are deep-cleaned. We’re making sure that they have that daily touch as well to make sure that they’re cleaned,” he said.
Fritz said he’s encouraging teachers to leave about three feet between students’ desks. Masks are optional for students.
“For our teachers, I think the most important thing they can do because they’re all of age where they can get vaccinated, I think that’s really important,” he said.