LUMBERTON — Some principals reported the transition to in-person learning on Monday went smoothly for Public Schools of Robeson County students.
Fairmont High School Principal Kent Prater welcomed back about 122 students to the campus on Monday, and all students followed the safety precautions set for them. Drop-off times and dismissal also went according to planned.
Students once again entered the school’s front doors, and they were greeted by head football coach George Coltharp and others who took their temperatures before allowing them to proceed to the classrooms.
Francisco Sierra and his sister Kadence Cumbie arrived on campus to finish out their 11th-grade year with in-person learning.
“It feels like the first day of school again. I’m happy, but I’m nervous at the same time,” Sierra said.
Cumbie said learning from home was a challenge, and she too was excited to return to the classroom and “ready to see different faces again.”
“I’m more of a hands-on person,” she said.
“It’s just been too long, boring and too much internet,” Sierra said of remote learning.
Senior Braeden Hunt said the return to high school to finish up his final year felt like more of a beginning.
“It feels weird,” Hunt said.
“A lot of our students have had, you know, some trials and tribulations within the virtual realm,” said coach Coltharp, who also teaches social studies.
Those tribulations, which included adapting to technology and connecting through a screen, also extended to teachers, Coltharp said.
Above all, the school will “adjust and keep it moving” as it nears the school year finish line, he said.
St. Pauls Elementary School Principal Jill Hathaway welcomed almost 200 children back to school.
“We had a very successful first day,” she said.
The transition, including wearing masks and social distancing, was free of problems, and the day went better than expected, Hathaway said.
“Kids were excited to be back,” said Anthony Barton, Pembroke Middle School principal.
“I didn’t hear any complaints from teachers. I didn’t hear any complaints from students,” he said.
The school implemented a color-coding system Monday to help facilitate student pickup and drop-off, which was a bit challenging the first day, Barton said.
“It was a pleasure to have kids back on campus today,” the principal said.
He asked for patience from parents, and extended to them an invitation to call the school or reach out if they have any concerns during the learning transition.
“Everything’s going good,” Fairmont Middle School Principal Tracey Ferguson said Monday morning.
Staff members were asking health questions and documenting student temperatures before allowing them to enter through the hallways located closest to their classrooms.
Doing so allowed for less exposure to other students during the entry process, she said.
Taneisha Krat, who was dropping off her daughter Amiya, was thankful for the return of in-person learning.
“I’m excited. It’s been a long time,” she said.
Mendel Priest also dropped by to receive transportation forms for his three students.
“Hey, I feel good. Give me a break,” Priest said.
Each school implemented similar safety precautions, and most, if not all, principals were hoping for the best.
Ferguson shared some advice.
“Just be flexible,” she said. “Be flexible and be ready to adjust. Don’t get too emotional or worried when things don’t work out because we can revise and make things right.”