Discovery Charter reopens to in-person classes to help prepare for e-learning

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Leaders of Discovery Charter School in Parkside are allowing students to begin the school year in-person to help them adjust to virtual learning before the entire school transitions to online instruction in eight weeks.

Parents and students were both excited and nervous as they started the first day of school.

"I'm nervous," said parent Michael Goode.

"A little bit of mixed emotions," said parent Benjamin Burrell.

Parents of elementary students who started Monday said they're taking it one day at a time.

"Today is a lot with everything going on, we dropped off our son. He started Kindergarten, so this is his first year. It's a lot," said parent LaShonda Joyner.

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Parents say they know how important it is for the first day of school to go well.

"It's all nerve-wracking starting the first day of kindergarten," said Christina Owens.

But to start during a pandemic takes it to another level of stress.

Owens believes it's best for her son Caleb to learn in the classroom. He is starting school on his fifth birthday.

"I agree that when you're engaging younger children, virtual education can be a challenge, so I like the idea of them coming in and engaging with the teachers for the first eight weeks," said Owens.

School leaders said those eight weeks will be crucial for students.

"A lot of schools chose not to open. We are opening for a short time to make sure that our students are acclimated to e-learning," said school CEO Tonia Elmore.

Elmore said the elementary kids who are signed up to come to school will be in class four days a week.

The middle schoolers will start on the 9th, but will only come to school one day a week if they need additional help with the computer software.

School officials said Wednesday's will be blocked off for a deep cleaning of the building.

After eight weeks of in-classroom instruction, everyone will switch to virtual learning as the flu season begins to peak, according to Elmore.

"I believe that the protocols they have in place, everything should be fine," Owens said.

There are also digital temperature scanners in place at the entrance as well as partitions set up in classrooms to help keep students socially distant from one another.

The school will transition to 100% online learning on October 26th until the end of January when the spring semester begins.
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