CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Tuesday was the first day of school across the Lowcountry and for some it’s a very different kind of back to school with some students replacing backpacks for Chromebooks and learning at home. For others in Charleston County, a more traditional first day back.
At West Ashley High School, roughly twenty percent of the buildings’s normal capacity returned to the classroom equaling just under six hundred students. The school’s principal, Ryan Cumback, says in-person learning at the school went smoothly on Tuesday.
It was a first day back to school for Charleston County students unlike any returns before.
“Well it’s finally here,” says Cumback. “We’ve been planning for it since march, it’s just nice to finally have kids back in the building.”
Cumback says the building welcomed just twenty percent of it’s students for the start of school but is optimistic more students will be able to begin in-person learning in the near future.
“We have about five hundred and sixty students in the building today out of our eighteen hundred and fifty-seven that are assigned to us,” says Cumback.
Even though a small portion returned for in-person learning today, Cumback says more students are signed up to return for in-person learning in the coming weeks. When more students do return, the total number will still be significantly below the building’s allowed capacity.
“We wish all of them could come back but we’re just not at the period of time,” says Cumback.
A return for both students and teachers met with the challenges and changes ranging from sanitizing stations, smaller class sizes, and classrooms being utilized for both in-person and e-learning all the way down to the direction students walk the halls.
“This is a very, very large campus and as you can see from the hallways, everything is one way so there’s maps all over the place,” says Cumback.
One of the biggest changes for both staff and students, face masks required to be worn at all times. Cumback says he’s proud of the way the challenges have been met by those in the building.
“This isn’t what our typical high school teacher signed up for, you know teaching in-person and virtually but I’m super proud of the way that they have just adapted and they’ve been incredible,” says Cumback.
Patience and flexibility are things Cumback says will be crucial for teachers, students and parents alike to have a successful school year in 2020.
“We’re trying our absolute hardest and more importantly I just want them to know how appreciative we are of their patience especially with the at home technology,” says Cumback.
Cumback says parents and students shouldn’t feel behind if they missed any information on Tuesday, he says staff will likely go over the new changes again on Wednesday for students.