JASPER, Ala. (WIAT) – Walker County Schools are just a few days away from the first day of back-to-school, and school leaders said it is shaping up to be a great year for students.

In addition to free lunch for all students and free school supplies, Dr. Dennis Willingham said Walker County is ready to take on a new year with improved safety measures.

School safety is always a top priority and Willingham said Walker County is taking steps to make sure every child is safe.

In addition to school resource officers, this year schools will also have K-9’s that are trained to sniff out weapons and weapons detectors that will be placed at each school entrance.

“A great thing about these weapons detectors are they are mobile, so we can move them throughout the building,” Willingham said. “We can move them outside to the football field for game night or for any special activity that we may have at a gym or at an auditorium.”

Willingham said three chocolate lab K-9 officers will rotate schools randomly each week. It’s all part of the school system’s efforts to make sure students and staff have a safe and successful school year.

This will be the first year post-covid that students will see a fully normal school day, Willingham said.

“This is the first year in quite some time that we will be starting school outside of a pandemic,” Willingham said. “Everyone is really excited about that, trying to get back to normal, if we can remember what that is and what that consists of. There’re no abbreviated days; there’s no A and B days. It’s everybody getting back to a five-days-a-week, regular school day for our students.”

Walker County students will head back to class Wednesday, August 9.