Prince William County schools letting kids meet teachers in person — pandemic style

While students in Prince William County, Virginia, are going back to school virtually on Tuesday, some of them had a chance to have an in-person meeting with their new teachers.

In a video on its Facebook page, Colgan High School Principal Tim Healey said the school organized a ninth-grade drive-thru orientation.

“Obviously we couldn’t do our traditional orientation,” Healey said, “but we’re trying to give the ninth-graders their schedule, give them a yard sign, give them some other giveaways, T-shirt, a bag; give them a chance to get quick picture so they can have a good experience with their orientation.”

As the students and their families drove through the school grounds, teachers and staff would greet them, masks on, waving, clapping and cheering greetings, such as, “Welcome to the shark tank!”

The school’s mascot is a shark.

Along the drive-thru route, the new students had a chance to take freshman year pictures by school banners made especially for the class of 2024 that read, “Class of 2024 drive thru orientation” or “Class of 2024 Welcome to the Shark Tank.”

And for students, such as Daniel, it was a nice way to connect with a new campus.

“I enjoyed it,” he said, “It kind of got me a little head start to the year to know what I’m expecting, and I’m excited.”

Elsewhere, Bennett Elementary School held a “Beep and Greet,” where as families drove around  campus, teachers would wave colorful signs and banners, and students could meet their teachers in person from the car.

“We felt it was so important to start out the school year building relationship, and it’s so difficult to do that virtually,” said Bennett Elementary Principal Michelle Pohzel.

Teachers such as Elena Smith got a chance to meet their students in person, albeit from 6 feet away, and prepare them for the school year.

“We thought this was the best way to celebrate the fact that they’re going to be coming to school in this new way,” Smith said, “and to sort of meet us and get their materials to them.”

As she met her students, she handed out bags with items, including crayons, glue sticks and pencils, so all students would have the same tools for the first day of school.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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