HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Madison County Schools students and staff are getting ready for their second first day of school this year, and this time, it will be in person.
Madison County Schools students started off the year completely virtual but will now be making the switch started Monday, Sept. 14.
At New Hope High School a majority of the student body will be heading back to the classroom. Less than 100 of the more than 600 students who go to the school chose to stay remote.
In the few days left before the first day, teachers and administrators are getting ready for students to come back. They’re making sure teachers have thermometers, each classroom and bus has assigned seats and everyone knows the protocols for lunch time.
Principal David Manning said their top priority is to take all of the possible precautions they can to reduce the spread of the virus.
“To make sure that they know that they’re safe when they return, make sure their parents know they’re safe when they return," he said. "We have a lot of protocols in place to make sure they’re safe in every aspect of our building.”
Teachers are also getting ready to teach both in-person students and the students staying remote, Manning said they’re working on unique ways of doing both to take stress off of teachers.
Along with all of the precautions, Manning and his staff are also preparing for what to do when a student shows symptoms of COVID-19 at school.
“We have a quarantine area set aside, if we’re waiting on a parent to come pick a student up that student will be quarantined in that area," Manning said. "Obviously sanitizing those areas, wearing masks, wearing gloves, all of those things we have and we’re ready to put those in place once our students come here.”
In the event students get sick or are exposed to coronavirus and have to quarantine, Manning said they’re confident they’ll be able to easily switch those students to virtual learning while they’re recovering.
Along with all of these changes to limit the spread of the virus, this is also a big year for New Hope High School because they are expanding.
Students in 7th and 8th grade will be going to New Hope High School this year in a brand new wing of the school. The school will now have grades 7-12.
But, the expansion will not be finished in time for the restart on Sept. 14. The plan is to have it ready for students and staff by early October, after Fall break.
A new facility and a larger school is exciting, but this also means 7th, 8th and 9th graders will now be heading to a new facility with no way of doing a traditional orientation or back-to-school night.
Manning said they’re working to solve this problem by communicating.
“Even though we can’t meet for an orientation, I can still get that information out," he said. "We can still answer the phone, we can still return phone calls and answer emails. That parents just know there’s someone on the other end of that phone at that school that cares about their question and will get back to them is very important to us.”
All in all, New Hope High School is set to welcome more than 200 students to their new and improved facilities this year.