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An inside look at how Houston County teachers are prepping for in-person return

Centerville Elementary School's principal and second grade teacher show how they're enforcing safety guidelines for students returning to in-person instruction.

CENTERVILLE, Ga. — Centerville Elementary School teacher Jessica Nixon sets up her classroom for her students' first time returning back since the spring's COVID-19 closing.

"We're definitely preparing for this new adventure. We've been spacing the desks apart as best as we can. We have been getting posters ready that have the rules and procedures that we're going to be doing," Nixon said.

Principal Ruthann Bowden says about 450 students are coming back for in-person instruction. They've made a lot of changes to keep social distancing guidelines in place.

"Teachers are taking furniture out that's not necessary. We're putting labels on the floor. We've changed the lunchroom that everybody, all the students, will be facing forward. I have dots on the seats because we're only going to put two to a side now, which it used to be four kids that sat to the side," Bowden said.

About 150 Centerville Elementary students are continuing remote learning. The district pushed the start date back so teachers had more time to train with the online software.

"We were trained on how to do the Google Classroom, the forms, the quizzes. How we can also incorporate the virtual field trips since we won't be able to do in-person field trips this year," Nixon said.

"We do have one teacher per grade level that is a distance learning teacher that will be providing instruction with mainly using Google Classroom," Bowden said.

Teachers will have face shields and students will be asked to wear masks when social distancing isn't possible. Nixon wants to assure parents that they feel confident in their safety plans.

"We're going to definitely be doing as much as we can to keep these kids safe because I feel the same way about my own children," Nixon said.

The maintenance department made sneeze guard dividers they'll use for younger grades who sit at tables and not individual desks.

Bowden says they're also limiting the number of parents or visitors allowed inside the main office at one time. Only students and staff members will be allowed to walk throughout the building.

In-person students will still submit a Google classroom assignment each week to keep them in practice with remote learning in case the district switches back completely.