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Porter’s Chapel Academy reports first day of school went to plan

With nearly 200 students arriving Monday morning, Porter’s Chapel Academy became the first school in Warren County to begin its 2020-21 school year — a year school officials built on a tremendous amount of prayer.

Chris Williams, who Monday began his first full year as Porter’s Chapel’s Head of School, said the first day went very well, which he credited to the students, their families and no small amount of faith.

“We had a plan in place when we started the day. We prayed, and have been praying all summer, and everything went well,” Williams said. “We knew we had a good plan in place. We trusted that plan and we trusted in the Lord.”

With measures in place, such as a mask requirement and social distancing measures, the school welcomed 185 students back to in-person learning. A “handful” are participating in virtual learning.

“We are encouraging our students to come to in-person learning, but for those students who do have parents at home or loved ones that are vulnerable, we are trying to accommodate them with virtual learning,” Williams said.

Below are some of the guidelines put in place by Porter’s Chapel Academy to address concerns about the COVID-19 virus:

Students’ temperatures will be screened upon arrival, and they will be required to wear a mask or face covering upon entry into the building. Then they will go directly to their classrooms.

In the majority of classrooms, students will be socially distanced. In classrooms where social distancing cannot be observed, masks or face coverings will be required.

During transitions between class periods, students will be required to wear masks or facial coverings and will also be socially distanced. Transition traffic will be one-directional. Student lockers will not be utilized.

  • Lunch and break schedules have been modified to allow social distancing.
  • Campus access to visitors and parents will be limited at this time. All visitors must report to the front office if necessary.
  • Faculty will regularly sanitize the desks and classrooms.
  • Hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the school building.
  • Janitorial staff will apply cleaning products throughout the day to high traffic and frequently touched areas. An electrostatic sprayer will also be used to frequently disinfect the school.
  • Modifications will be made for all regularly scheduled events to follow all mandates from governing authorities to assure the safety of faculty, students and their families.

Williams said while the first day of school went well, there are some slight changes he and his staff noticed that were needed.

“There were a couple of issues that we are going to look at our schedule to where we could better spread some kids out,” he said. “But other than that, everything went very well for us.

“All of our students were very cooperative, all of our families were very cooperative. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way our kids came in, they understood what we were trying to do and the key to all, for us, was absolutely prayer.”

The Vicksburg Warren School District, which was originally scheduled to begin classes Aug. 7, decided late last week to delay its opening until Aug. 17. Vicksburg Catholic Schools also decided to delay its start until Aug. 17.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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