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One more item on the back to school checklist

After the year we’ve all had, March 14 seems like a lifetime ago.

It was a Saturday, and the top headline on the Washington Daily News website read “Governor announces two-week school closure.” A couple weeks later, the breaking news was “Schools to remain closed until May 15.” Finally, on April 14, the top story read, “Public school closures extended through spring semester.”

All told, it has been just shy of seven months since Beaufort County Schools students have set foot in the classroom. Instead, they’ve been asked to adapt, as have their parents, their teachers and every other person involved in their care and education. It’s been probably one of the hardest times to be a student, a teacher or a parent in living memory.

For many, next week marks the light at the end of a long tunnel. With pre-K through fifth-grade students starting back four days a week, and 6-12 students returning to the classroom two days a week, it seems like a step back toward a normality that has been sorely lacking in 2020.

But the reality is, the classroom will be far from normal when they return. COVID-19 is still infecting people in our community, and schools have the potential to amplify that spread. It’s a concern and a source of anxiety for parents, teachers, administrators, staff members and many students. So next week, before the first school bell rings, parents have one more item to add to the normal list of back-to-school tasks.

For every mom, dad, grandparent or guardian with a child returning to school, it is your responsibility to educate yourself on the restrictions, recommendations and protocols BCS and the state have put in place for schools. Then, be sure you talk to your child about the importance of those guidelines and consider partnering with your school to make sure your student follows them.

It’s important to do so, not only to help preserve the health and safety of your children and your own family, but to extend that same concern to their teachers, school-system staff and their fellow classmates.

Since March, it’s been clear that each of us has a responsibility to help protect the health and safety of those around us. Please do your part to help your child understand that as they return to the classroom next week.

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