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Back to school: First day of in-person instruction at Valeska Hinton

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The masks are on, temperatures checked, and that means it is back to school at the Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center.

This gives Peoria Public Schools a chance to put their weeks and months of planning to the test.

With guidelines and procedures in place to protect students and staff, the school day will look a bit different this year.

The changes start the moment the students arrive.

Exterior doors that go directly go into the classroom are used to avoid gatherings in the hallways.

The students and teachers will get their temperature checked daily and be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the building.

Each classroom has done their own creative reworking to allow for social distancing. Some have also added plastic partitions on the tables for further protection.

Masks are required for both students and staff throughout the school day and frequent hand washing or sanitizing will become part of the regular routine.

Principal Katie Cobb said while it has been a lot to adjust to, they will work daily with the kids to get used to this new normal.

"We model what we're expecting and model our feelings and especially young children they kind of feel what you feel. So if they feel that you're calm and relaxed even in a stressful and changed situation, they're going to relax and be calm with you."

If someone in the school were to test positive for COVID-19 the district would immediately contact the Peoria City/County Health Department to determine the best course of action. There are a number of different possibilities, each will be handled on a case by case basis.

Kaitlin Pearson

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