Classrooms that have sat empty for nearly a year in Northern Virginia will once again have students sitting at desks.
Students from pre-k to high school seniors are masking up and returning to public schools Tuesday in Fairfax County, Arlington County and Alexandria city.
Each district is bringing back groups of students in phases under a hybrid model in which students and teachers will meet for in-person class two days a week.
During the pandemic, the back-to-school list includes a backup mask, water bottle and personal headphones. Personal tissues, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are also good items for students to have on hand, school officials say.
It's a big day for Fairfax County Public Schools’ older students: Eighth graders, ninth graders and high school seniors are headed back.
Before students go to school, they are required to fill out a health screening form.
News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey has been covering this side of the state since joining NBC4 in 1992. She's joined by reporter Drew Wilder.
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since freshman year. The senior experience,” student Eliza Bell said.
It will be an exceptional senior experience of course. Communal lunch tables have been replaced with single desks spaced for social distancing, or students can choose to eat in the hallway.
QR codes are a new feature on teachers’ doors. Students who want to visit a teacher scan in so the school can track their movements and keep up with contact tracing.
Seventh, 10th and 11th graders are next in line to return on March 9.
Younger students, aged pre-k to second grade, are heading back to Arlington County Public Schools.
Families are required to fill out a health survey before their student goes into school buildings or any in-person activities. The survey will be emailed or texted to parents before 5:30 a.m. in multiple languages, the district says.
Alexandria City Public Schools are welcoming back students in kindergarten through fifth grade who are receiving special education services, as well as English language learners.
More special education and English-learning students can start going to class next Tuesday, including students in grades six through 12.