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13,000 Bibb students return to in-person learning for the first time since Spring

District leaders say their phase-in process is going as planned. They're monitoring their ability to keep students following safety guidelines.

MACON, Ga. — Masks, desks spread apart, and safety guideline posters on the walls.

That's what the inside of schools look like during a pandemic. 

Howard High School teacher Morgan Jarvis says they're doing all they can to keep everyone safe.

"Students are distanced away from each other that way they don't have to worry about who's next to them or what happens and we have seating charts in place so that we can contact trace. We spray down the chairs and the desks in between every class. Masks on at all times," Jarvis said.

The district phased students back on campus in two parts over two weeks. Bibb Schools Chief of Staff Keith Simmons breaks down their method.

"Last week we started with kindergarten-2nd grade. We also included 6th grade at the middle school and incoming 9th graders at the high school. That was really ensuring that we had the operational systems in place. That was really allowing students who had less experience in the buildings to come into the buildings first," Simmons said.

The second week, all remaining grade levels who chose in-person instruction return over the summer came back on campus which is about 13,000 students total.

"Back to school as normal with the caveat that we're still only able to have roughly 15 students per classroom, so it's not that we brought all of our students back, but we do have all grade levels represented in the schools," Simmons said.

Between now and Christmas Break, they'll monitor their ability to keep students following safety guidelines. Jarvis says he'll do whatever it takes to be able to see his students face-to-face.

"It was really, really nice to have them back in my classroom on Monday and just to talk with them and catch up and really just be here with them, be here there for them with what they needed from me," Jarvis said.

Wednesdays are virtual learning days for all students. That gives them time to sanitize the schools and adjust plans as they see fit.

The district announced that Southwest High School will continue remote learning through Thanksgiving Break due to staffing related to COVID-19.

The campus of Elam at Southwest High School will return in-person on Thursday.