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Polk County gears up for first day of in-person learning, new safety measures in place

Posted at 8:55 AM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 18:22:12-04

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Polk County schools joined several other local districts Monday morning for in-person learning.

Like most schools, students and staff are required to wear a face mask when on campus as well as on the bus.

In Davenport, 250 students returned for in-person learning. They will be joined by 36 teachers.

Davenport Elementary School Principal Shannon Brown said new COVID-19 procedures come with their own set of challenges for elementary school children.

"Many of these students have been back in school since March so just the idea that of saying, look there's my friend that was in my class last year I haven't seen them. Or you know my teachers wanting to have that personal connection with them," Brown said.

Social distancing will be implemented in the classroom with one teacher for every 10 students.

The social distancing requirements will carry out to common areas as well.

One way traffic patterns around campus have been established.

Brown said staff has been working throughout the summer to make sure they are prepared if an outbreak occurs or someone contracts the virus.

"We have isolation rooms designated that no one will ever go into unless we have to isolate someone. We have the gowns. We have the N95 masks. We have the gloves. We have the face shields. We are prepared for the worst but hope for the best," Brown said.

The first day of school began with bus delays. School leaders said that is to be expected with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

Polk County school leaders say every bus will be sanitized between stops.

Students and bus drivers will be required to wear a mask. Students will also be required to sanitize when they get on the bus and will board from the back of the bus to the front to minimize exposure.

A bus route hotline has been set up to check on a student's bus route. That number is 863-534-7300.