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School resumes on islands

By TIFFANY REPECKI - | Sep 9, 2020

Students returned to The Sanibel School on Aug. 31 for the start of the new year. PHOTO PROVIDED

trepecki@breezenewspapers.com

Students returned to The Sanibel School on Aug. 31, kicking off the start of a new school year.

New Principal Jamie Reid reported that many students who had originally signed up for Lee Home Connect or the Lee Virtual School have returned to take part in face-to-face instruction instead.

“We’re pleased to have them here with us,” she said.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the School District of Lee County had offered students the option of returning to their school, Lee Home Connect, Lee Virtual School or home-schooling.

“Teachers and the administration are thrilled to see our students back at school,” Reid said.

She reported that part of their first day back was spent on learning and practicing the new safety procedures put in place due to COVID-19. They include walking in one-way hallways, wearing masks, standing 6-feet apart in hallways and classrooms, assigned seating and distancing in the cafeteria.

“Washing hands for 20 seconds several times daily, using hand sanitizing stations,” Reid added. “Wiping off desks between class changes, and staggered arrival and dismissal.”

The second and third day got better as students practiced the expectations and procedures.

“Sanibel students rise to the occasion,” she said. “We’re very proud of them.”

As for the teachers, they started student instruction on the first day.

“Go slow to go fast,” Reid said of what her message has been to the educational team. “Build relationships, help our students to feel safe and supported. Stay positive.”

She noted that most are teaching face-to-face and Lee Home Connect students simultaneously.

“One of our biggest challenges,” Reid said.

“Teachers are working very hard,” she added. “So proud of them.”

New Assistant Principal Jennifer Lusk came up with and implemented an initiative to make the new safety procedures a little more fun for the students. The school has named it “Agents of Shields.”

“Students who wear face shields and masks all week get an ice cream reward on Friday,” she said. “Students may decorate their shield in a fun playful way.”

Reid and Lusk also appear daily on the school’s SEA-TV News to offer safety messages.

“We’re staying positive,” she said.

The school’s cleaning and sanitization protocols have been increased to help keep staffers and students safe. They include weekly fogging in the classrooms to combat the virus and more custodial duties.

“The custodial crew is amazing and very helpful,” Reid said.

For more about the school, call 239-472-1617 or visit sbl.leeschools.net.

The Sanibel School is at 3840 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel.