After not seeing his students since the spring, Jeffery Blackmon was ready to greet them on Tuesday.
"I feel like I'm a proud daddy," said Blackmon, the principal of T.J. Harris Upper Elementary School. "I'm so glad to see the kids...I haven't seen them since March and I've missed every last one of them."
School were closed in March as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, and Meridian Public School District students spent the first few weeks of the new academic year attending class virtually.
They were welcomed back to campus on Tuesday. Students and staff are required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
Elementary students will attend in-person classes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Secondary students will go to class twice a week either on Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday.
Meridian High School students with last names beginning with A-K will come to class on Mondays and Tuesdays, while students with last names beginning with L-Z will come to school on Thursdays and Fridays.
Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said COVID-19 rates are declining in 62 of…
Wednesday will be an online learning day, and students who are not physically returning to the classroom will continue to take courses online.
Fifth-grade science teacher Fannetta Dancy said many of her students missed the face-to-face interaction in the classroom.
Her colleague, Linda Hopson, agreed.
"I realized that virtual learning and practicing safe social distance is very important, but there's nothing like human contact," said Hopson, who teaches fourth grade. "So seeing students face-to-face was a joy and overwhelming."
Sayveon Chapman, a sophomore at Meridian High School, was excited to be back on campus, preferring the classroom to online instruction.
“I like hands-on learning, the teacher teaching me and learning in general,” he said.