What will Alabama’s classrooms and school hallways look like this year?

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CHILTON COUNTY, Ala (WIAT) — With the number of coronavirus cases continuing to rise across Alabama, the decision of sending your child back to school or not may be one of the most stressful decisions parents are facing now.

There’s a lot of cleaning going on in school hallways right now.

At Jemison High School in Chilton County, custodians are scrubbing the floors and disinfecting all the major touch spots.

“We’re paying extra close attention to make sure we’re hitting everything,” principal Kendall Jackson said.

Freddy Smith, maintenance director for Chilton County Schools, said they have all the supplies they need, but it wasn’t easy.

“It’s been hectic, pretty much a logistical nightmare trying to get the hand sanitizers and something as simple as spray bottles have been hard to get because everyone has jumped on it,” Smith said.

One of those new supplies is a backpack fogger.

“They can go in and fog the entire classroom in under a minute and then between classes, they can fog bathrooms, common areas, things like that, so that will be super effective against COVID-19,” Smith said.

Getting supplies though is only one of many steps to get school back open.

Jackson said they want school to be as normal as possible, but things will look different, starting with the classroom.

“We kind of call it returning to old school classroom set up. Our teachers are going to be directed that if they have tables, all tables have to face a certain way. We have to limit the seating of students at those tables. All of our desks are going to have to face the same direction,” said Jackson.

Jackson said things like pep rallies and large assemblies won’t be happening this year. Lockers will not be used. Students will not be eat in the cafeteria, and there will be signs in the hallways and arrows to direct traffic in the hallways.

“A hallway is a common area so it’s where kids are walking and gathering so if you can keep that common area clean, you can keep COVID down,” said Smith.

“Yes there are challenges and sometimes it can get complicated but it’s not anything that we can’t tackle,” said Jackson.

Melissa Lee and her daughter, Sadie, said the changes and sacrifices are worth it if it means returning to school.

“We need to do what we need to do to be safe,” said Sadie, a student at Jemison Intermediate School.

“It makes me as a parent feel a better or little better about sending your child to school,” said Melissa Lee. “I’m trying to look at everything positive for my kid.”

Although the hallways are empty now, when the time comes for that school bell ring, custodians and staff said they are ready.

A lot of schools are getting creative when it comes to preventing COVID-19 from spreading.

We’re seeing some school districts put up sneeze guards at the front office, students having assigned bus seats, and offering an electronic hands free way of paying for lunch.

Check out the full story tonight at 5 p.m. on CBS 42.


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