‘How do we tell children to stay six feet apart?’
By Bobby Bryant
The Darlington County School District has already begun preparing for local schools to reopen in some form after the COVID-19 shutdown.
When and how county schools resume having in-person classes, even if class sizes are limited and schedules are staggered, depends largely on whether coronavirus cases in Darlington County spike or whether they stay “stable.”
But the school district has already started figuring out exactly how to “socially distance” students, assuming conditions allow for at least limited in-person instruction.
“Much like you see in businesses now, you’re probably going to see stickers and marks that say ‘Stand Here’ that are 6 feet apart from each other. You’re probably going to see one-way traffic-flow patterns in our schools,” county Education Superintendent Tim Newman said June 17 in a video chat with parents and students.
“We’ve actually gone into our classrooms and measured what it would look like to have each student have 36 square feet of space to themselves — the 6 feet they would have to be away from each other,” Newman said. “What would that look like from a desk standpoint or a table standpoint?”
“We’re going to be very aware of hand sanitizers and washing our hands, and of course, not putting our hands on each other,” Newman added. “ … I know everybody out there has had the thought of ‘All right, how do we tell two 5-year-olds to stay 6 feet apart from each other?’ That’s going to be a challenge.”
Newman said officials are thinking in terms of only being able to put 10-15 students in a classroom to maintain social distance.