This school year is looking very different for Kelly Martin. The math teacher greeted students Tuesday morning with hand sanitizer and wipes because of COVID-19.  He’s been a teacher at North Lawndale College Prep for 15 years.

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“First of all, welcome back,” Martin said.

Students who chose the hybrid learning model will meet twice a week in person and twice a week online.

“I know the teachers have taken a lot of precautions during this coronavirus and stuff like that,” said student Lovell Miller. He’s a senior.

“It may be a little bit different from how it use to be, but it’s still the same school,” Miller said.

The charter school made some changes throughout the building to protect students and staff. Anyone entering the building must get their temperature checked and answer a list of questions like have you been in contact with anyone that had COVID-19.

Each classroom will have no more than 15 students. And they must wear a face mask at all times. Desks are spaced six-feet apart. The hallway is marked with decals to remind students of safety. Start times and lunch will be staggered to limit students from gathering.

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“We’re going to get past this,” Martin said. “We’re gonna try to make it as authentic as possible.”

Teachers at North Lawndale College Prep said the place is more than just a school. Everyone here is family and the building provides a safe haven for many students.

Lawrence Skinner graduated from here. He’s now going into his third year of teaching at the school.

“We’re in the Lawndale neighborhood where gang violence and murders very prevalent,” Skinner said. “I think it is important to have scholars in the building.”

He knows with students being in school, they are safe from what’s happening beyond the school walls.

“We know they are safe in here. So they’re safe from the street in here. They are safe from COVID due to the procedures we put in place,” Skinner said.

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