Chambers Academy reopening for in-person classes

Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 6:39 PM EDT
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LAFAYETTE, Ala. (WTVM) - Chambers Academy in Lafayette will be opening up its doors for the first day of school Thursday, August 6.

The headmaster shared they’re seeing record enrollment this year.

With hand sanitizer at the door of her classroom, third-grade teacher Yvonne Flanary was preparing Wednesday for the return of her students at Chambers Academy.

“I cannot wait to be back at work,” she said. “I cannot wait to see my students.”

The private school in Lafayette has about 230 K-12 students set to walk in the doors Thursday morning for the first day of school this year.

“We feel we’re small enough that we can help mitigate and then respond to put safety first for our children and our staff, obviously, and then try to meet their needs for learning,” Headmaster David Owen said.

With traditional, in-person learning at the forefront of their plan, and hybrid and virtual learning in their back pocket, Owen said they have plenty of safety precautions in place: masks, hand sanitizer, a new air filtration system, and heat sensors that can gather 30 students’ temperatures in a minute.

Flanary even changed up her classroom design in the name of social distancing.

“I’ve spaced my desks apart so they will have their own personal space,” she said.

Owen stressed the importance of in-person instruction.

“There’s no do-overs for these kids, so these missed learning opportunities are huge,” he said.

He said with their decision to have in-person learning this year, the school has seen record numbers of enrollment.

“Our radius around the school here in Lafayette has actually grown dramatically,” he said. “We’re actually going to begin bus service to Tallapoosa County. Likewise, we’ve seen a spike in students in Lee County.”

Longtime history teacher Tom Garrett said he has no hesitations about this year.

“We’re expecting a great year here at Chambers,” he said. “We have a lot of new students and can’t wait to get started.”

Owen also said they have hybrid and virtual plans if students need to quarantine for a bit or if they have health issues. He said they use a combination of Zoom, Google Classrooms, and other platforms, and they can also transition fully to virtual learning if necessary down the road.

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