Ariton Principal says he doesn’t see pushing school start back despite covid risks


ARITON, Ala. (WDHN) — While some schools have pushed back start dates, the Dale County school district is moving right along with back to school plans.

Dale County schools such as Ariton and George W. Long High School have commenced their 2020-2021 back to school activities. Teachers started back to work Monday and hosted an open house for some of their students and parents.

“It’s going to be a different typical day at Ariton because we’ve got sanitation methods and social distancing methods and all the things that we’ve got to do to make sure it gets done. So we are going to take all that and make sure we do the right thing by our students and our teachers,” Said Ariton High School Principal, Josh Herring.

The school has increased custodians’ time on campus and is looking to add two more custodians to the team to help tackle cleaning procedures. A typical school day consists of more than 800 students on campus, so cleaning procedures will be increased, every time a class changes the room will be sanitized, the lockers and hallways will be sanitized between each block, and playgrounds will be sanitized after each class.

“You know I know it’s still a hotspot here uh, I don’t see that going away, if we had prolonged it and pushed it back I don’t see the first of September it being much different,” Herring said.

Some parents aren’t worried about Dale County being listed as very high risk because they feel most people in the area know each other and they take precautions.

“It really don’t concern us that much, that’s why we are letting them go back to school instead of virtual. I think the school activity is very great for the children,” Elementary school parent, Rick Mehaffey said.

Students also shared their feelings about going back to school with WDHN.

“I really am excited to see all my friends again since I haven’t seen them with all this COVID stuff going around,” said Sophomore student, Meredith Esteva-Aquino.

“I think it will be difficult to wear the mask because it’s like hot when you breathe,” said third-grader, Bryce Davis.

And the overall feeling from teachers and faculty seem to be the same…

“I think we are all a little apprehensive, this is our calling this is our job this is what God called us to do, and I’m excited to get back into my classroom and see my children,” Said Third-grade teacher, Bethany Phillips.

Phillips says in her 31 years at Ariton as an educator she has never had to experience something like this before, but she’s just ready to catch up with her students after not being able to see them since March. School starts back up Friday, August 7.

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