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Alcoa City Schools welcome students back for a unique school year

Students began their first day of school at Alcoa City Schools Wednesday with protocols in place.
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 5:17 PM EDT
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ALCOA, Tenn. (WVLT) - Students began their first day of school at Alcoa City Schools Wednesday with protocols in place.

When students and staff entered the school, they were required to put on masks and get their temperatures checked.

Wendy Beristain, 10th grader at the school, said her and her classmates felt nervous walking into the school. “I don’t know what to expect,” said Beristain.

Dr. Caleb Tipton, principal at Alcoa High School, said students will attend class in-person one day a week. “Depending on the first letter of a student’s last name determines which day of the week he or she will have traditional learning. On Wednesday, there were about 120 students, that’s about a fifth of the school’s student population.”

Tipton said custodians will be cleaning more regularly as hand sanitizer is added to each classroom.

“I’ve been teaching here a long time and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Rob Daugherty, a physics and chemistry teacher who has been teaching at the high school for 28 years.

Daugherty said he, along with other teachers, have been adapting to virtual learning pretty well.

“A lot of us taught some virtual classes before we left last year so we have an idea of what to do,” explained Daugherty, “We can do some demos and stuff, and we can video some demos and we’ll do lab when they’re here. You know I’m kind of planning to do labs and assessments when they’re here.”

Dr. Tipton said he hopes that the school has a plan that is mindful with the current situation of the pandemic and gives Alcoa the best opportunity to have students in person and keep them safe.

Students who have selected the traditional learning option will be learning from home four days a week. The students in the Virtual Learning Academy will learn entirely from home.

Dr. Tipton said there will be about four students per class at the high school up until Labor Day.

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