Conway Elementary gives inside look as students head back to class during pandemic

First day of school at Conway Elementary School

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Class is back in session for students in Horry County.

Thousands of students returned to Horry County schools on Tuesday under the hybrid learning model. Things looked a lot different this school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 6:45 a.m., students began arriving at Conway Elementary School. Most students showed up with face masks. Teachers and staff also wore face masks as they welcomed students back for the first day.

At the front of the school, six feet apart stickers lined the ground for students to stand on.

It’s the new normal for back to school, but something Sarah Floyd said her daughters looked forward to.

“They’re ready for it and they’re ready to be with their amazing teachers,” Floyd said. “It’s a fantastic school and I’m happy they get to be here.”

Maquitta Davis, the school’s principal, said teachers prepared lessons on how to properly wash your hands and the importance of social distancing to help them adjust.

“The preparation did take a lot of hours, a lot of time, but for the students, it’s worth it,” Davis said. “I’m feeling excited, magical, happy to have our students return back to us.”

Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a fifth-grade teacher, said she still gets those first day jitters.

“Just excited. It’s been so long since we’ve seen them,” Fitzgerald said.

For her, it’s also about making sure students succeed even in an unusual environment.

Fitzgerald said students' first assignment is decorating their own face mask.

“Do one that represents you just so we can get them comfortable with that because they will have to wear them when they’re up and moving around,” she said.

While the new school year may be strange and uncertain, Fitzgerald believes students will walk away from this school year with resiliency.

“They’re going to learn a lot about what they’re capable of and what they can overcome,” she said.

“We’re just here to support and love our students and our families,” Davis said.

Around 175 to 200 students returned to Conway Elementary School on Tuesday. Overall, around 400 students are doing traditional learning at the school.

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