FIRST DAY BACK: Elementary school starts out with exciting first day as COVID concerns still linger nationwide
South Carolina school bus at Camden High School in Kershaw County
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Here in the Midlands. there is excitement as many school years got off to a good start today.
One local elementary school even had a special guest.
“We partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands and Molina Healthcare. It’s just a fun send off for the kid’s first day of school,” said Connor Shaw, former South Carolina quarterback. “It’s exciting to everyone and we’re excited to be here. We got Cocky and Dr. Cleo. We’re going to have some fun.”
The South Carolina football standout visited classrooms and led the Gamecock chant. He says his own two children are just as happy for the chance to start a normal school year.
“Both of my kids have been excited since early June to get going. My daughter will be in 1st grade and my son is in pre-K,” Shaw said. “They are social little butterflies so they just want to be around other classmates and make some good memories.”
One mother of two says her children are ready for school as well.
“They are super excited. They are currently doing in-person learning and they’re still going to wear masks, said Cicely Hill, mother of two school-age children.
Hill has a 12 year-old son and a 9 year-old daughter. She will be sending him to school with more protection than a mask.
“My oldest has been vaccinated because they let the 12 year-olds get vaccinated,” Hill said. “I’m waiting on them to do the younger children and she will be too.”
One Lexington School District 2 principal was just as happy to get day one underway.
“We’re excited about the school year,” said Principal Leonard Frierson of Wood Elementary. “The students are excited about the school year because they’ve been home for a period of time. The kids are filled with energy.”
Despite changes to learning, Frierson is going into his 6th year and believes it will still be a great school year for Wood Elementary.
“Some of the challenges we’ve had weren’t big,” the principal said. “We were able to overcome anything that got in front of us.”
Many are optimistic the normal start to the school year will last but with an increase in COVID cases nationwide, Hill is cautious.
“I think there probably will be some disruptions to the school year and they’ll end up doing virtual,” she said. “That will be par for the course with all the variants out there.”
The delta variant is one she has first hand experience with.
“Even though I’ve been vaccinated, I ended up with the delta variant about a month ago. It was just like a sinus infection. I recovered,” Hill said. “I wear a mask most of the time except when I’m out walking.”
State law says that schools will lose funding if more than 5 percent of students choose to go to class virtually.
However, after a surge in cases to start the school year and hundreds more in quarantine, one South Carolina school district upstate has already had to temporarily go back to virtual learning.
Cases in the Kershaw County School District in the Midlands are causing some concern after school started back two weeks ago. It shows an outbreak could happen anywhere.