Some Richland County students return to the classroom for in-person LEAP days

Some Richland County students return to the classroom for in-person LEAP days

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Some Richland One students and teachers are back inside the classroom today for the first time in nearly six months.

The district kicked off its LEAP days Monday, which were designed to give teachers a chance to prepare students for the upcoming year and also see how much they learned during virtual learning in the spring.

At Logan Elementary School in Columbia, Principal David Copeland Jr. and teachers say day one was a big success. There were only about 25 of the school’s more than 250 students inside the building Monday because they are spreading students out over the course of the week.

“Having this opportunity for teachers and students to get together and practice what E-learning should look like, we’re hoping we can take this momentum and drive us forward to the actual phase one of E-learning, which starts August 31st,” explained Copeland.

The district is starting the school year completely online, but fifth-grade teacher Tameka Breland says this leap week gives her the chance to see her student’s faces and make sure they have the materials they need for virtual learning. “I was really excited just to be closer to them and kind of see their faces,” said Breland.

Students are all wearing masks inside the school and practicing social distancing. They eat breakfast and lunch inside their classroom with their teacher, and teachers say they’ve been provided plenty of PPE. “While I was apprehensive about it before more concrete plans were put into place, I feel like the communication level has been optimal. We’re just putting measures in place to ensure we’re all doing everything we can to protect ourselves, our students, but then also just to be in a safe environment,” Breland noted.

The longtime teacher says virtual learning isn’t ideal, but she’s trying to look on the bright side and believes her students will come away with necessary digital skills that will help them in the real world. She also believes this week is good practice for what the hybrid model will look like when the district moves to phase two. “There’s a lot of things we’re going to be able to get out of this whole experience that will benefit all of us,” Breland explained.

Parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their children to the in-person LEAP days will have time on Thursday and Friday to pick up materials at the school.

Richland One was originally requiring teachers to teach inside their classrooms during virtual learning, but now teachers have the option to teach virtually from their homes.  

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