FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Students at one Broward County school went back to their classrooms on Wednesday.
Westminster Academy, a private school in Fort Lauderdale for grades pre-k through 12, opened its doors for in-person learning for the first time since the spring semester.
“I’m all for it,” said Gina Rodriguez whose son started 12th grade on Wednesday. “Wash our hands, wear our masks, and just follow the rules.”
The private school’s headmaster, Joel Satterly, told CBS4 he expected an estimated 835 students to arrive at their campus for the first day of school. Satterly said his school off Federal Highway has implemented several new protocols like daily temperature checks, routine cleaning, and limited class sizes.
“We’ve maximized space here at our sponsoring church, so we’ve moved classes across the street as well,” Satterly said.
Westminster Academy’s website said the school is operating at a Level 3 out of 4 with a Level 1 being normal pre-COVID procedures.
“We don’t ignore the realities, you can see that,” said Satterly. “But we’re also wanting to develop a plan that allows us to pursue our mission. And if our parents didn’t want that, they wouldn’t be sending their children.”
Students at the school will be required to bring a mask with them and wear facial coverings when arriving and leaving school if social distancing can’t be followed, and in certain classrooms depending on faculty health concerns.
Most students across Broward County will not be heading to in-person learning for the fall semester. Broward County Public Schools announced it would begin the school year online on August 19.
“We have a number of parents from public schools reaching out about coming to Westminster,” said Satterly.
The private school does offer an online learning option for parents who do not feel comfortable sending their students back to the classroom. Satterly said about 10 percent of the school’s families have opted for online learning.