Students in Mississippi town return to in-person classes

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CORINTH, Miss. — Students in one Mississippi city are back in class, and they’re going back in-person with a list of changes.

Children returned to Corinth Elementary School this week with backpacks, high hopes and face masks.

It’s a new challenge for second-grader Brody Quinn, but his dad is convinced the staff will provide a safe environment.

“We weighed our options out, and we thought about doing the virtual option, but both me and my wife work, and for us it just made more sense that we try to be safe, but get our kid back to school,” Jordan Quinn said.

Corinth parent Earnestine Crenshaw is glad school is back in session.

“I’m a full-time working mother, so it’s kind of hard for me to have someone to watch her during the day, so I really do appreciate the school getting back open,” Crenshaw said.

The new protocols mean school buses are sanitized, and students must have their temperatures checked before going to class.

Throughout the school, social distancing is the rule. Students won’t be able to use playground equipment.

Meals must be eaten in the classroom, and only there do students have the option of not wearing a mask.

“We’re able to spread out and social distance within the classroom, and this classroom stays together all day with their teacher and does not interact with other classes through the school day,” Corinth Elementary School Principal Brian Knippers said.

Knippers said 13-15% of the school’s 1,200 students are taking the virtual option.

“We began providing programs with them yesterday, the first day of school, just like we did with students here in the building,” Knippers sais. “Through technology, the two groups were able to interact, so if you’re on a teacher’s roll, you got to see your friends at school, and they go to see you at home.”

With all the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Knippers said students are adjusting and happy to see their friends again.

Regardless, teachers are ready to answer any questions surrounding the new normal.

“Where we’re talking to them more in conversation over lunch because we’re eating lunch in the room, to hear them out and see how they feel,” Knippers said. “Surprisingly, we’ve had no problems with masks. Children have voluntarily, I guess they think it’s cool, and they wear their masks, and that has worked very well for us.”

For third grade teacher Alecia Holley, there are valuable lessons to be learned about staying healthy.

“I think we all have a lot of questions, a lot of confusion, but we are in this together,” she said. “We’re kind of all equally confused, and we’re learning as we go.”

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