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Greensboro Day School reflects on orientation, prepares for in-person classes next week

This week the school is hosting orientations before all students are allowed back in the school for learning.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A handful of schools are getting students back in the classroom, and Greensboro Day school is one of them.

Students are back on campus this week after five months.

Masks covered their faces and social distancing kept them from the usual warm embrace.

It's only orientation, but it's giving everyone a taste of what it's like to be back.

“It was interesting because instead of all of us being at campus, it was only 50 percent and on top of that, not everyone was in all of the classes,” Greensboro Day senior Emily Hall said. 

Hall knows there will be plenty of changes this year.

Head of school, Tracie Catlett, said health and safety training is front of mind.  

"Our health training is anything from how to properly wear a mask, how to take it off," Catlett said. "Social distancing and some facts around the virus and why the CDC requirements are as so." 

Catlett said they’re planning to have some classes outside, and 15 percent of students will learn online.

"With the Swivl technology, they’ll be able to zoom into the classroom and see classmates and hopefully, it will feel a little like they’re in a classroom and not just a face on a screen," Catlett said. 

Our school feels complete seeing these smiling faces (and smiling ey... es behind masks) from students and teachers. Please send in your First Day photos to socialmedia@greensboroday.org to be included in our Back to School photo album.

Right now, 750 students are enrolled, about 160 more than last year.

Catlett said more applications are coming in and they’re close to reaching capacity in some grades.

Hall said even with more students expected this year, she feels safe getting back in the classroom.

“I felt really comfortable at school knowing that GDS had a set way of doing everything,” Hall said. 

Students won’t officially be back in the classroom until Wednesday, giving staff a chance to reflect on how the week went.

"We need to look at the carpool line, it was a little bit slower than normal because we're taking temperatures. We’re thinking about how do we make sure outdoor furniture gets wiped down in-between classes," Catlett said. "So we have lots of problems to solve and we’re going to use Friday to do that." 

Catlett said they’ll continue to monitor the virus and make changes if necessary.

The school has added sick and well rooms to their health center, and a new air filtration system that's 99 percent effective at killing coronavirus pathogens.

There's also a plan in place if anyone is exposed to the virus or tests positive.