Worcester Co. Summer Academy serves as test run for upcoming school year
WORCESTER CO., Md. – For the first time since March, some Worcester County students are getting back in the classroom as part of the county’s summer academy program.
“It was moving to see students so excited to be back and see their teachers and staff members that they know,” says Chris Welch, the principal of Buckingham Elementary School.
“It’s really getting some of our most at risk students, whether that’s at risk academically or at risk socially and emotionally, it’s getting them back into a situation where they can be ready for recovery of learning,” says Tamara Mills, the coordinator of instruction for Worcester County Public Schools.
The summer academy is also helping educators get a better idea of how school may look in the fall which includes navigating the health screening process when kids arrive on buses. “If a student doesn’t have their paper with them which is rare but we stand them to the side and we call on the radio and someone asks the parent the questions verbally on the phone,” says Welch.
Teachers are also coming up with creative ways to socially distance students like spacing them out in hula hoops on the ground. They’re also assigning interactive materials like blocks to each student instead of sharing them.
“I thought the smaller children would have a lot of trouble with the masks and were finding that other than proper fit, there’s really not as many concerns,” says Mills.
Social emotional development is also being introduced into the curriculum, a topic educators believe is especially important as kids return. “Having some social and emotional development curriculum or activities and experiences will help them work through any trauma they might have experienced in their lives through out COVID or the school closures,” says Mills.
47 ABC also learned that students are being served individually packaged meals at school and eating in their classrooms. Officials say whatever food isn’t eaten has to be thrown out in order to avoid germs being spread. Some teachers are even taking some class time outside so that kids can periodically take their masks off.
Click here to learn more about Worcester’s school reopening plan.