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Arapahoe Charter School returns to in-person classes

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 8:42 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2020 at 9:01 PM EDT
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ARAPAHOE, N.C. (WITN) -

Students at Arapahoe Charter School were back in the classroom for the first time on Monday morning.

For sophomore Wyatt Hahn, the new normal might take some getting used to.

“Because you know masks, disinfecting everything. It’s just weird,” says Hahn.

Hahn is one of a little more than 350 of the school's 500-plus students that opted to take part in the mixed in-person and online education this year.

"I got tired of being at home. I've been there 6 months, I've got to do something," Hahn explains.

It was back in third week of July that the school's board ultimately made the decision to move forward with an in-person, online mixed education schedule.

Roughly 150 students have opted for the online-only instruction.

But despite the masks and social distancing guidelines, for those that have come back, like senior Jossel Gonzalez-Garcia, it's nice to be back in a comfortable setting.

"Same people, just a whole new environment that I have to get used to. But it still has the same familiarity about the place," Gonzalez-Garcia describes.

Among the safety precautions, the school has blue check marks on hallway walls separated by six feet.

They also have hand sanitizing stations throughout the building and mandatory health screenings before getting on the bus and entering the school.

"I'm not concerned because I'm going to follow the rules, I'm going to do what I've been asked to do. And I know our school staff is doing that they need as well," says 6th and 7th grade teacher Lori Andrews.

Andrews was one of many teachers in favor of returning to in-person learning.

"I want to make sure that all of my students, no matter where they sit, are getting exactly what they need," she explains.

School leaders say they consulted with the Department of Public Instruction and the health department before making the final decision.

Though there was some hesitation at first, they say everyone is on board with the decision.

And while the year still faces many uncertainties, school leaders say it's important for students to back among each other.

"We see on a day-to-day basis, during the school year, how much that interaction means to students," says Chris Watson, the school's Executive Director.

The school says they looked at all available guidance in terms of the safety the measures they are taking, and are following the DPI’s guidance to the letter.

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