CAMDEN, S.C. (WIS) - Kershaw County schools opened their doors on Tuesday for five-day-a-week in-person learning for students that opted to be in the classroom.
District officials said about half of their students chose this option while the other half are beginning the year virtually. Camden High School Principal Lesley Corner said about 500 students came back to school in person on Tuesday. It was a day that both Corner and students deemed a success.
“I think the biggest surprise was that it went so smoothly!” Corner said.
She said the faculty, teachers, and students were all excited to get back to the classroom.
“I came in and I was just really happy to be here,” Dayton Jeffcot, a Camden High School senior said. “I was excited to get back to class because I didn’t learn much during e-learning. I’m an in-person learner so it was just good to be back in class.”
Jeffcot said she wanted to spend her senior year in the classroom. It’s a sentiment that many seniors shared.
“My mom wanted me to stay home but I begged her to let me come to school,” James Crim, a Camden High School Senior, said.
Masks are mandatory and the students had their temperatures checked at the door before heading to their socially distanced classrooms. Corner said they have two alternating lunchtimes. She added that they had a plan in place to stagger class dismissals throughout the day, but the students were able to space out in the hallways so it wasn’t necessary.
“The students are a lot more resilient than we are, and it just amazed me how quickly they were able to jump in and do what they needed to do to get an education,” Corner said.
Crim said he liked the new structure.
“I felt that there wasn’t a point that I didn’t feel safe or uncomfortable,” Crim said.
Despite the changes, many seniors said are looking forward to their final year at the school.
“I’m excited for our soccer season because last year we only had like three games,” Jeffcot said.
“It was just like old times. I feel like we found a way to see past the masks and communicate with each other and help each other get better in the classroom,” Crim said.
Corner said she’s excited for the rest of the year and to welcome more students back to in-person learning over the coming months.
“It’s just been such a wonderful day. I know, first block today, I went by every class to say good morning, and there was a couple times I had to catch myself not to break down in tears because it was so great to see all the students back. We’ve really missed them,” Corner said.
The district is also offering two virtual options where students participate with the class in real time and a self paced virtual model. Parents can change their students learning option every four and a half weeks.