Students in Greenville County Schools attended their first week of classes this past week starting Aug. 24. Both in-person and virtual programs began. Those who chose a traditional approach to school by going to in-person instruction one day of the week said the experience was what they had been told, but maybe a bit less crowded.
“It’s pretty close to what I was expecting,” said Banks Wade, a freshman at Mauldin High School who went to school on Thursday.
Wade said it was a bit strange to only have three fellow students in one of his classes. The classes are kept small to make sure social distance can be observed.
“Teachers couldn’t really hand out papers or share materials, so that’s also a weird thing,” he explained.
Faith Barrineau, a senior at Hillcrest High School, noted that for a school as big as hers, it was empty since only a fourth of the students attend per in-person day at the current attendance plan. “I’m used to being completely surrounded by people … it was just really weird and felt really different.”
Mauldin senior Autumn Hightower was happy to be back in school to see friends she hadn’t seen in several months and to talk with people her own age. “Everyone thought it would be kind of weird and kind of scary, but it was actually kind of fun,” she said. “I was really glad that I was able to see all my friends but in a safe-as-possible way.”
Students spoke about their hope that the in-person school days would bring back some normalcy and the hope to see more of their friends.
“I feel … the more kids are there, closer to normal it’ll be, which will make it better,” said Wade.
Hightower was content with a couple of days to get to interact directly with her teachers and her classmates. “Two days is good enough for me, especially with it being my senior year,” Hightower said. “I am able to come to school in some way, shape or form. Finish out my four years.”
Overall, students seemed to trust their schools to have the proper precautions in place.
Barrineau said that she appreciated the trust the teachers trusted the students to follow the precautions in place to prevent any spread of the coronavirus. “I think sending out all of the guidelines before [was helpful] so I knew what to expect when I got there.”
“They’re not asking for too much,” said Hightower. “I mean, no one’s asking for too much having to wear a mask. It should be taken seriously. I’m not upset with what they’re asking for. I’m gladly complying with that.”