HOMOSASSA, Fla. — The 2020-21 school year kicked off in Citrus County Thursday, with the vast majority of the district’s 16,000 students returning to brick and mortar schools.
What You Need To Know
- Most of the Citrus district’s 16,000 students are returning to brick and mortar schools
- Several precautions have been put into place, including face covering requirements
- About 2,600 students are taking part in virtual learning
- More Back to School headlines
“It’s been a long time. I mean, the kids really need to get in the classroom and be socialized, you know what I’m saying? They’ve been locked up for months now,” said Amy Johnson, whose son, Logan, 10, is entering fourth grade at Homosassa Elementary School.
“It’s better than being home,” said Logan on returning to school.
Like schools around the nation, the Citrus County School District closed its buildings in the spring to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. They reopened with several precautions in place.
Signs in front of Homosassa Elementary near the area where parents drop off and pick up students read, “Attention! Due to COVID-19, visitors must remain in vehicle at all times.” Teachers and staff wearing face coverings greeted students there a few at a time.
Students also need to wear masks on buses and on campuses where social distancing isn’t possible. Extra cleaning protocols have also been put in place. Signs in front of the main entrance state that because of the virus, non-essential visitors aren’t allowed in the school. Those with appointments are reminded they’ll need face coverings to do so.
“I think they’re doing a really good job,” said Alice Ratliff. Her sons, Corey and Liam, are entering first and second grade. “They’re putting kids all on one side for lunch and stuff so they’re not directly in each other’s faces. They’re having them put face masks on until they’re at their desk.”
First grader Azaila Ringle, 6, said she’s glad to be back.
“I missed playground,” she said. “I missed the cafeteria and I missed teachers and my friends.”
Azaila’s mom, Tiffaney Bryant, said the decision to return to in-person learning wasn’t a tough one. She said virtual school didn’t work for her children. Still, the new school year brought mixed emotions.
“A little happy because they’ve been out so long, little scary. We don’t know what’s going to happen. A lot of time and effort put into it, so we’ll see,” Bryant said.
Classes also began Thursday for the 2,600 students attending the Citrus district’s virtual school.