After nearly a year of online-only learning, Durham Public Schools re-opened its doors this spring. Elementary schools welcomed students into their buildings on March 15, and middle and high schools followed suit on April 5.
All DPS families could choose for their student to continue with on-line learning or to return to in-person learning. At George Watts 64% of students chose in-person, coming to the school 4 days a week, while the other 36% continued to attend virtual classrooms taught by George Watts teachers. Wednesdays remained a virtual learning day for all.
To prepare for re-opening, George Watts Principal Patti Crum said that the school staff re-arranged classrooms and adjusted the daily schedule in order to maximize social distancing and access to the outdoors. They used emergency funds and grants to purchase special equipment such as face shields and shade tents.
“The transition from virtual to in-person learning went very well. DPS gave us good guidance as to how to prepare, and we fine-tuned our arrival and dismissal procedures as we got started. We have a veteran staff with great rapport.”
Each morning, teachers stood at the school entrance to screen students using an infrared thermometer and a self-reporting online app. No parents or other visitors were permitted in the building. Everyone was grateful for the smooth transition!