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Athens City Middle and High School students return to in-person learning

Many parents said they wanted their children back in the classroom even though Limestone County is considered at high risk for the Coronavirus.

Posted: Oct 5, 2020 10:53 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2021 3:50 PM

WAAY 31 is getting reaction from parents and teachers after Athens City students returned to the class room for the first time in about seven months.

For middle and high school students it's a return two weeks ahead of schedule.

The district made the decision after parents requested the return.

That's despite the fact the county is ranked as a high-risk area for Coronavirus cases.

Many parents said they wanted their children back in the classroom even though Limestone County is considered at high risk for the Coronavirus.

The district says 82% of students are officially back in the classroom, something one parent says could be a health issue.

"The schools have taken so many precautions that we have been good the whole time," said parent, Heather Kiel.

Heather Kiel has one child at Athens Middle and one at Athens High School and while her kids have been in traditional school since the school year started, Monday brought a new experience.

"I asked my daughter today; she was so excited that she got to see some of her friends who have not been there all of this time and they were there today," said Kiel.

Kiel says while she's glad students are getting in person education again, she's a little nervous about coronavirus spreading more.

"It concerns me having more students there because it increases your risk," said Kiel.

But she says she trusts teachers to keep students safe.

"I believe the teachers are going above and beyond this year," said Kiel.

"Teachers had to start over a little bit with the why we are doing this and the importance of wearing a mask and the importance of social distancing but no issues at all today," said acting Superintendent, Beth Patton.

One teacher says she's trying her best to help students adjust to the new normal.

"Computers are good aids, but they cannot replace a good teacher in a classroom," said teacher, Deb Ezell.

Deb Ezell teaches students who are at high risk and says she was excited to see so many new faces in her classroom today.

"I saw some happy faces and I was really thrilled in my heart that they were happy to be back," said Ezell.

Ezell says the priority is making sure students get a good education in person.

"If you're sick, stay home, but I feel very confident that the building is safe," said Ezell.

Acting Superintendent Patton says students and teachers are following the new guidelines and the district will continue to monitor Coronavirus cases in the area.

Limestone County is currently ranked as a high-risk area with 284 Coronavirus cases.

Acting Superintendent Patton says the district is doing all it can to keep students spread apart and minimize contact.

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