Students in Lakeland return to school, adjust to new health rules


LAKELAND, Tenn. — Children in Lakeland are in back in school, but it’s hardly business as usual.

Monday was the first day of the new school year, and there were new health rules in place.

At Lakeland Preparatory School (grades 5 through 8) students are staying in one classroom with roughly 14 other children as different teachers rotate in throughout the day. All students and staff have to wear masks, and students are given periodic mask breaks outside when the weather allows.

Principal Matt Adler said there are also hand sanitizing stations throughout campus.

“Our janitorial staff are cleaning between groups of kids that come into the areas, wiping down chairs, wiping down door handles, tables,” Adler said.

Like other districts, students in Lakeland were able to choose between in-person and online learning. Principal Adler said roughly 80% of Lakeland Prep. students chose to be on-campus. That means there were about 700 kids in the building Monday.

“And I’m asking kids how they felt about the day on a scale of 1 to 10, and most of the kids were 8, 9, 10,” Adler said.

Adler said he had no problem getting students to follow the new rules.

“They were splendid,” Adler said. “I never had to tell a kid put their mask back on. They respected us and respected the social distancing as well.”

However, Adler admitted it’s early in the year.

“Kids are going are going be kids,” he said. “Day one, the first week, they’re really good, and then they start to try to push the boundaries a little bit.”

Lakeland Elementary School is following the same health rules but, for the most part, teachers there don’t rotate because they have individual classes.

The Lakeland district is only grades K through 8. Most students will go to Arlington High School when they leave.

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