MARSHALL, Tx. (KSLA) - Lined bumper-to-bumper in front of William B. Travis Elementary School, nervous parents said “good-bye” and “I love you” to their children from a distance as Marshall ISD returned to class Thursday, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re ready to welcome them with open arms, even though we can’t do our little hugs like we used to,” said Kamekia Johnson, the school’s principal. “We can give them lots of love.”
For months, Marshall ISD has diligently prepared for how to best safely return to schools as COVID-19 remains top of mind for educators, parents and students.
Johnson said she’s proud of Marshall ISD’s readiness and the new measures in place to hopefully protect everyone inside school buildings.
“To see that plan come to fruition makes me feel really good,” Johnson explained. “Putting the needs of students and staff first is huge.”
KSLA went inside the nurse’s office at Travis Elementary to get a first-hand look at the school’s ’isolation tent,’ which is a screened out section of the clinic - separating anyone being isolated.
Students showing signs and symptoms of what could be COVID-19 will be moved here until a parent or guardian can quickly pick them up.
“Let’s say a child has a fever of 102, that would be something that would be a red flag for us,” Johnson explained.
This first day was bittersweet for teachers, as the are finally reunited with their students once again - though in a much more sterile environment.
Jamie Prock, a second grade teacher, spaced out her students’ desks, placed a plexiglass shield on her desk, and removed personal items which used to make her classroom feel more like another home.
“Our future is in this classroom,” Prock said. “I miss them, I miss the ones I didn’t get to say ‘good-bye’ to and I can’t wait to see ‘hello’ to the new ones coming in.”
Korene Johnson, a parent, said she’s used to being able to walk her children into school on the first day to introduce herself to teachers.
That didn’t get to happen today.
“I got to experience it with my oldest and not being able to experience it with my second and last is hard,” she explained. “Because I’m worried, too.”