Discovery Day Academy in Bonita Springs reopens with precautions for students and teachers

Writer: Drew Hill

Masks have made it hard to tell what people’s body language is trying to say. But Elena Garcia’s is screaming excitement because she’s finally going back to school.

“I haven’t seen my friends properly in a while,” Garcia said. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been hard for people to connect with friends and family. but on Monday, at Discovery Day Academy in Bonita Springs, this seventh-grader and other students will finally get to see their friends again.

But before school starts, they have to test the precautions put in place. First on the list is temperature checks. Followed by hand sanitizer and then a quick spritz of disinfectant onto the shoes.

Then, it’s off to the classroom for Garcia, which she hasn’t set foot in since March. “It’s weird because I haven’t been here in like five months so you just walk in and it’s like whoa,” Garcia said.

Also, “there’s sanitizer in like every door,” she noticed. Everything will be socially distanced. She won’t get to share her new school supplies with her friends like she’s done in past years. Not to mention that now when she’s in the hallway, she’ll have to wear a mask.

Another main focus for school staff is keeping the germs out of the classrooms altogether. “Our teachers have a cleaning and sanitation frequency table that they use so we do have a defined pattern and way we’ll be cleaning materials,” said Elizabeth Basart, Head of Discovery Day Academy, a private school in Bonita Springs.

In addition, students will have to supply their own water bottles every day and are not allowed to bring their backpacks into the building.

“My grandma bought me two types of hand sanitizer,” said Garcia laughing. “Liquid hand sanitizer in a gel. She was like you need both.”

Garcia and her parents just want to make sure she’s prepared for school and is able to protect herself and other students.

Basart also purchased medical-grade air purifying filters that will be placed throughout the school. Class sizes will be no larger than 12.

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