AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – It was back to school Monday for students in Richmond County. Parents and students can expect some big changes this year.

Big changes that include new grading scales, new teachers and new textbooks.

And with the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas- many school districts are taking steps to increase security-Richmond County is too.

“I’m really excited honestly. It feels kind of surreal because I’ve been here since 6th grade, so it just feels like the years have gone by so quickly,” said Danielle Vergara, a senior at Davidson Fine Arts.

You could feel the excitement in the air as students and faculty at Davidson Fine Arts arrived for the first day at school.

“And the building just doesn’t come to life until the kids get here,” smiled Dr. Renee Kelly, DFA’s Principal.

Something parents can look forward to– knowing the school system is taking extra safety measures this year.

“Our teachers will have access to make a call at a fingertip, by having a button on their badge. And that’s all they have to do is press the button and an emergency response team will report directly to their classroom,” explained Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw, RCSS Superintendent.

Dr. Kelly, agreed that safety is a top concern going into the new year.

“I spent three and a half hours with my faculty going over safety. We practiced every single drill until the teachers understood what they were supposed to do.”

“Safety is always a priority. As a matter of fact, it’s the number one priority. This year we’ve made a few adjustments,” said Dr. Bradshaw. “We’ve met with all of our principals and they’ve looked at all our safety procedures. we’ve taken a look at our safety plan and I believe we are ready to go this year.”

Vergara said she has full confidence in her school to keep her safe.

“I do feel safe here. Because I’ve been here for six years. So, I don’t really feel unsafe. But I really appreciate what the school has done to increase the security here.”

Each school will also only use one entrance to monitor foot traffic into and out the school buildings.
As far as resource officers go, each middle and high school will have its own, while the elementary schools will share resource officers.