Lexington city school board approves return-to-school plan

By Zach England

Harrington Waddell Elementary School will begin bringing in kindergarten and first grade students on Oct. 26 under a newly approved return-to-school plan. Photo by Grace Mamon.

The Lexington School Board approved a plan to start bringing students back to Harrington Waddell Elementary and Lylburn Downing Middle Schools later this month.

Kindergarten and first graders will return to classrooms Oct. 26. Second, third and sixth grade students will come back Nov. 9. All students will be back Nov. 16.

“I think this allows us to have a gradual transition starting with our youngest students in both buildings,” said Rebecca Walters, school superintendent, at the Wednesday board meeting.

Students will spend four days per week in person with a virtual day on Fridays. Families still have the option to stay virtual. Walters said about 25 percent of students want to remain online.

“I think most of the periods of the day, the teachers will only have to do one job. Either virtual or face-to-face, and most of the time not simultaneously,” said Jason White, the director of operations and student services for the division.

The district posted the updated plan to its website today. Schools will require mask wearing and enforce social distancing at all times. Handwashing and using hand sanitizer will be encouraged and expected, and desks will be arranged six feet apart in the classroom.

“They will be required, and it hasn’t been a problem with the students we’ve had in the building so far,” said Waddell Elementary principal Melanie Camden. “The kids are resilient, and they tend to do what they’re asked to do.”

Students will mostly remain in the same classroom with the same group of people throughout the day, with teachers moving from class to class when switching periods to minimize contact in the halls.

Lunch will be delivered to the classrooms and students and teachers will have the option to move outside throughout the day.