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Indian River County superintendent positive about start of school year despite challenges

'Totally different than my fears,' teacher says
Dr. David Moore, superintendent of Indian River County school
Posted at 4:34 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 18:00:54-04

VERO BEACH, Fla.  — Monday marked the second week of classes in Indian River.

About 62 percent of Indian River County students began the school year with in-person learning.

Indian River County teacher Margaret Neely, who teaches eighth-grade advanced language arts at Storm Grove Middle School, admits she was concerned about heading back into the classroom.

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"I'm really scared about what's going to happen once I'm with students in the classroom," Neely had told her principal.

But one week into the school year, after spreading out her desks and being vigilant about cleanliness, Neely said she is relieved.

"It's been totally different than my fears," Neely said.

Teacher Margaret Neely
Teacher Margaret Neely says much of the stress leading up to the start of the school year has dissipated after the first week of classes.

"We want to get back to some kind of normal, and what that normal looks like will, of course, be different. But kids are resilient, right? So, the kids are great. They're doing really well wearing masks when they need to, asking for a mask break when they need it," said Storm Grove Middle Principal Anne Bieber.

Superintendent Dr. David Moore said he was pleasantly surprised how smooth the first week went. They have had three students test positive so far for COVID-19, which occurred at Osceola Magnet and Vero Beach High School.

"Those areas have been resanitized in an abundance of caution. Those schools are open. Teaching and learning is taking place in those schools," Moore said Monday.

The first week of classes wasn't without challenges.

A Sebastian River teacher was accused of watching pornography after a virtual class ended, and the coronavirus forced many changes both in academics and in athletics.

Recently the Vero Beach High School football team was impacted by the virus. Moore said he could not confirm if a varsity player tested positive, but the team was affected.

"It is a relatively large number... about 30 [members] of the football team. So, they're looking at the schedule, the length of the quarantine," said Moore.

While the future is uncertain, Neely is encouraged about the present.

"Kids have been extraordinary. I feel the school was very, very well prepared," Neely said.