Montevallo Elementary School back to school

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – Nearly 200 Students were fresh faced and all smiles under their masks as they entered Montevallo Elementary School to start out the 2020 school year on Thursday, Aug. 13.

While the way school operates looks different in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, MES Principal Dr. Allison Campbell said that the first day back was absolutely wonderful. 

It has been an absolutely wonderful first day back, everything has gone amazingly smooth and I believe it is because my teachers and staff diligently prepared for this day for months,” Campbell said. “A lot of time and energy has obviously gone into the planning to prepare for this day. The smoothness of this day just speaks to their work.”

These first 200 students represent about half of those who chose to participate in traditional learning at MES. As Shelby County schools operates under a staggered school schedule another set of students began classes on Friday, Aug 14. 

In this time of diligent sanitizing, social distancing and compulsory facial coverings an amazing amount of effort on the part of teachers, students and their parents was necessary to make traditional in-person learning an option. However, even with these changes students are happy to be back.

“Our students have been very excited to be back. Even our kindergartners that haven’t been in the building before are happy to be here,” Campbell explained. “Typically the parents will walk their kids to class on the first day, we aren’t able to do that this year, but still our kindergartners have just done an amazing job their parents did amazing preparing them for this day.”

Students are taking the safety measures very seriously and cooperating with all of the new rules. Campbell said the teachers reported that they had not had any problems and everyone is reacting to the changes with patience and understanding.

Students and teachers at MES are also participating in virtual learning which is becoming a staple of education during this time period.

“Our teachers are saying it’s going really smooth, you expect some bumps with technical issues, but the spring did prepare us somewhat for that,” said Campbell. “We have had more time to prepare than back then obviously, and everyone is saying that is going very well so far.”

With all of the challenges facing the public education system at the moment Dr. Campbell is optimistic about the future for students at MES whether they are enrolled in traditional or virtual learning the important parts of their duties remain the same.

“I think naturally now that we have completed the first day back, it helps to calm and ease everyone’s concerns having made it through the first day. Our goals for the students remains the same,” she said. “To do the best we can and provide the highest quality and rigorous instruction. And to make sure we do the best to ensure growth in our students academically, socially and emotionally.”

Building trust between administration, teachers, students, and parents is more important than ever with health concerns at an all time high. The diligence of educators at MES is necessary and present to help make the school year as normal as possible.