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Sumter School District returns for 5-day, in person learning

The decision was made after reviewing data district leaders say showed it’s safe to return with precautions.

SUMTER, S.C. — Monday, students at the Sumter School District returned for five day, in-person instruction.

The decision to transition was made last month for those who choose after reviewing community data district leaders say showed it’s safe to return with coronavirus protection measures in place.

At Furman Middle School, staff said they were looking forward to the chance to get students back in class more often.

“It gives me an opportunity to work with them one-on-one,” 8th Grade Teacher Corelle Fair said.

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According to Furman Principal Michael Riggins, roughly 450 students returned Monday. About 1/3 wanted to remain virtual.

Those on campus had several safety procedures to follow, according to Riggins, including mask wearing and social distancing. Clear shields were also placed around their desks, which were spaced apart.

“We’ll go through and use a fogging machine and sanitize all the hallways throughout the day. We have our business services staff that are continually sanitizing,” Riggins said. “We work with the children to make sure that, as they’re walking around the hallways, that they are keeping that distance from each other. That’s difficult because middle school kids are very social, they want to hang out, so we have to just keep reminding them.”

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Amber Purcell has two children attending Sumter Schools. She said they were hybrid and is happy they can now be full time.

“We are glad to be back where they can be with friends, be with their teachers, and get that support right away,” Purcell said. “We are happy with how things are being handled…. I think the schools have done a tremendous job at keeping things sanitized.”

As for virtual learners, Riggins said teachers continue to balance both.

“It’s been a struggle and a challenge,” Fair said, “but with hard work, consistency, and communication, we’ll end this year on a positive note.”