SUMTER, S.C. — Sumter teachers are back in the classroom preparing for a virtual start to the school year.
"It's a good energy," Willow Drive Elementary Principal Preston Spratt said. "It's nice to have the building bustling again."
It's the first time everyone has had an opportunity to interact in person since face-to-face classes were suspended in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, Spratt said.
After a warm greeting, at a safe distance, they went to work.
"We've been working hard to get our classrooms set-up for virtual learning. We've been working hard to get our materials together to send home to students," Spratt said. "This week we've really been focused on building each other up, making sure that everybody is excited about the upcoming school year."
Normally, teachers like Tiffany Marshall would be decorating their classrooms for students to arrive.
This year, they're finding creative ways to set the scene like making digital bulletin boards the students will see during live, virtual lessons.
"I think it's all about just being creative, being open minded, being flexible," Marshall said.
She's expecting about 24 third-graders this year.
"I'm most excited to meet my students," Marshall said. "I'm most excited to grow and to help them grow."
The Sumter School District will return virtually Friday, August 28 with plans to transition to a hybrid model of learning when the coronavirus becomes less of a concern.