Powhatan teacher takes us inside her socially-distant classroom

Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 4:53 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The new school year is just about two months away from starting, and the question many are asking is what would a socially-distant classroom look like? A Powhatan teacher shares how she’s keeping her students safe during this pandemic, but at a distance.

Michelle Clark teaches second-grade students for summer school. She says she’s maintaining social distancing, but making sure students have fun while doing it. One tool is a socially distant high five made out of a cardboard box.

“I put it together quickly, it’s a pizza box, has the stains but it works,” says Mrs. Clark.

Her students meet four days a week, 4.5 hours a day; the high fives come in handy because it helps bring the kids together socially and emotionally when they physically need to stay six feet apart.

”With that first day, we really went over the rules, expectations. I kind of did some stories with them and they understood what was expected of them, so they do follow it, and they do a really great job with it,” she says.

Mrs. Clark says masks are recommended, but not required, as long as students are six feet apart.

“I do [wear mine]... I can take it off if I am 6 feet from them, so I can pull it off, if I need to talk, especially for language arts, where they need to see my mouth, and then I’ll slip it back on if I need to get closer to them.”

As for keeping her room socially distant, the teacher marks the floor to keep the desk separate.

“They have adjusted very easily, students and kids are resilient, so with that, they just follow the lead and if we create a positive experience they will just follow,” she says.

There is just one week of summer school left at Powhatan, but Clark hopes by sharing her ideas she’ll inspire other teachers come fall.

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