Collier County’s virtual students return to in-person school

Public schools in collier County welcomed many former virtual students back into the classroom. Close to 80% of all students are now going in person.

“Here we go!” “yay!” First-grader Sophie is excited to see her school again.

“Calusa park!” she’s been waiting for this moment for the three months she was in virtual school.

Jamie Crossan-DeBres, Sophie’s mom, made the decision to send her daughter back to school after seeing the experiences of her friends.

“I know things are not the same and things are not the way they’re used to doing things but they’re still learning and they’re still engaged and they’re still being safe and that’s what was important to us.”

Sophie is one of 6,000 Collier County Students who went back to in-person schooling on Monday.

Chad Oliver, Executive Director of Communications and Community Engagement for Collier County Public Schools, “As we go in to the second quarter, we know that additional students are coming on campus… those public health principles will remain the same from quarter one to quarter two. Masks are required social distancing to the greatest extent possible and frequent hand washing.”

Fourth-grader Liam is not one of the 6,000 students headed back to school. His mom, Olivia Angeles, said he didn’t like the idea of wearing a mask all day.

“For us…. now it’s a routine we enjoy. He wakes up in the morning he does his thing,” Angeles said.

Her main concern when she made the choice was making sure that her son didn’t fall behind during in-person learning.

“I also was a little more comfortable after talking to his teacher and she reassured me that he’s on his level and he’s doing great so I said OK you know if we are comfortable with it let’s just keep going.”

‘Just keep going’ has become a sort of mantra for life during COVID-19.

The school district says a minimal number of students switched from in-person to virtual learning. Those cases are handled by the schools on an individual basis.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Drew Hill
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