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First Day of School for Samuel W. Tucker Elementary


August 9 was the first day back to school for Samuel W. Tucker Elementary. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

ALEXANDRIA, VA—For students across the nation, schools are opening their doors. On the morning of August 9, Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School opened its doors to masked-students and teachers eager to reunite.

Samuel W. Tucker Elementary welcomes back its students and staff. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

Busloads of children stepped onto the sidewalk, one at a time, and through the doors of the school, as news crews, cameras, teachers, and the Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. welcomed and waved them inside.

Dr. Hutchings greets students with COVID-19 compliant elbow bumps. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

“I’m so excited to have you back,” exclaimed Dr. Hutchings to students as they exited the school bus.

Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings with one of this morning’s bus drivers. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

The excitement was reciprocated by students who returned the waves with smiles and thumbs-up.

Students wave at teachers, cameras, and friends who welcome them back to school. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

With almost 2 years to prepare for the return of in-person classes, schools have used that time to implement new plans, protocols, and equipment.

Teacher greets student with elbow bumps. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

Now with mask mandates, air circulation and purification, staff able to vaccinate if they so choose, and social-distancing practices, Samuel W. Tucker Elementary is as ready is it will ever be to tackle the school year.

Boy gives his mother a hug before entering class. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

Of course a plan is only as good as its execution, and of course there are concerns amongst many parents, students, and teachers themselves upon returning to school, but with almost two years of pandemic life under the belt, Dr. Hutchings and fellow ACPS affiliates are confident about heading into the new school year.

One teacher prepares for her first day. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

When addressed about the reality of actually keeping masks on students throughout the day, Dr. Hutchings responded, “Kids are resilient. We make it part of their routine, we work with the parents. We are ready.”

Captain Sean Casey directs traffic as children walk to school. (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

With a little uncertainty and a lot of hope, Alexandria enters a new chapter for its students. Only time will tell the tale of success, but one thing is certain: today was a promising start to that story.

Stay safe, students! (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

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