Burgaw Middle School preps for in-person learning that starts Monday

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BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — Starting Monday, the halls of Burgaw Middle School will be filled with students yet again. Only this time they’ll be 6 feet apart and wearing masks.

“We’re at a school where we’re going to have less than 100 kids and we’re going to have 25 adults. So if you do a ratio, that’s 4 kids for every 1 adult,” Principal Jeffrey Swanson said. “There’s plenty of adults here to ensure safety.”

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Swanson says the logistics are the main concern, but he feels they are prepared for the first day.

Some students opted for remote learning only, but the ones who will arrive Monday will have their temperature checked as they get off the bus or out of their car.

Group A will attend school Monday and Tuesday, while Group B will attend Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday is reserved for remote learning only and sanitizing the school.

They’ve installed hand sanitizer stations in the hallways and marked every 6 feet with stickers.

Each student will receive a 5-pack of face masks, a pouch with pencils and other school supplies and a binder with a detailed learning plan to help them and parents keep up.

Swanson says the little things are getting a bigger focus this year.

“Getting water from the water fountain, it’s not a reality this year so how do we plan for that? Making sure students have water bottles,” Swanson said. “Classroom activities like using colored pencils. They have to have their own set, they can’t use any common equipment.”

While sharing pencils, desks and hugs may be off the table for this year, there’s one thing that will not change.

“Just because they may not be doing the same thing on the same piece of paper, or on the same Chromebook and using the same materials, they can still share ideas.” 8th Grade Teacher Malia Newton said. “We just have to be a little creative with the ways we bring about collaboration so that our students are getting the best education just like they always do.”

It’s going to be much different than in the past, but Newton says, even with the unavoidable anxiety from teachers, students and parents, she looks forward to a great year.

“This year at Burgaw we have a saying, it’s BMS. Be responsible, make good decisions and safety first,” Newton said.

Burgaw Middle will have a school nurse on staff all day, every day of the week.

She says if a student were to show symptoms of coronavirus, they would be sent home and referred to the county health department for testing.