Alexandria, VA – For students across the nation, schools are opening their doors. On August 9, Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School opened its doors to masked students and teachers eager to reunite.
Busloads of children stepped onto the sidewalk, one at a time, and through the doors of the school, as news crews, cameras, teachers, and Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings welcomed and waved them inside.
“I’m so excited to have you back,” exclaimed Dr. Hutchings to students as they exited the school bus. The excitement was reciprocated by students who returned the waves with smiles and thumbs-up.
With almost two years to prepare for the return of in-person classes, schools have used that time to implement new plans, protocols, and equipment. Now, with mask mandates, air circulation and purification, staff able to vaccinate if they choose, and social-distancing practices, Samuel W. Tucker Elementary is as ready as it will ever be to tackle the school year.
Of course, a plan is only as good as its execution. Of course, there are concerns among many parents, students, and teachers about returning to school. Still, 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.
When addressed about the reality of keeping masks on students throughout the day, Dr. Hutchings said, “Kids are resilient. We make it part of their routine, and we work with the parents. We are ready.”
With a bit of uncertainty and a lot of hope, Alexandria enters a new chapter for its students. Only time will reveal the success, but one thing is certain: August 9 was a promising start to that story.