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Students and teachers head back to in-person learning in Lee County

After months of virtual learning, nearly 6,000 students and 32 teachers in Lee County are now back in physical classrooms. Schools are makings plans to handle this influx of students and teachers coming back.

Lilianni Sarante is doing well in her virtual classroom and has finally gotten used to it. Her mom just wishes that she could keep one teacher. Since September, she’s had two different ones.

Barbie Sarante is Lilianni’s mom. “From one teacher to another, we had to learn how teacher B preferred things versus teacher A, so now we have to deal with teacher C and that’s like… How do you like for things to be done?” she asked.

Sarante’s daughter isn’t the only one. 5,600 more students are moving from online to in-person learning. Teachers are moving too.

Gwyn Gittens serves on the Lee County School Board. “It’s almost like we’re having Groundhog Day every day. Every day is the first day of school for somebody,” Gittens said.

Rob Spicker is the district’s spokesperson. “While they may have a different teacher, they’re not ahead they’re not behind the right where they should be,” said Spicker.

The district says that no matter the teacher, the lesson plan remains the same. But the stress this puts on teachers is everchanging.

“Will it affect class sizes? It has to,” said Gittens. “We have to look at do we try to keep these numbers down? Or do we try to bring the students back and make sure that they learn?”

Lee County say they’re committing to bringing back more students and say that the risk will not hurt students in the classroom.

“Everybody is going to be challenged with this,” Gittens said. “But the schools are ready, the administrators are ready, the teachers want to teach our children. And they know they can do it better face-to-face.”

The reason Barbie’s daughter’s teacher keeps changing is because the district keeps adding more kids to each classroom. 10,000 students came back at the end of the first quarter.

The health department says even with more students in school, the rate of secondary transmission is low. This means, if a child brings the coronavirus into the school, it won’t be spread easily.

“The health department continues to tell us that we have a minimal secondary transmission at school. So when there was a positive case on campus it was brought to school, but not shared at school. And that shows us that the protocols we put in place at working,” Spicker said.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Drew Hill
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