It was a first day unlike any other. And, it was a normal day of school.
While students wearing masks met staff making temperature checks before entering school buildings, those same students sat at their desks and engaged in the normal behaviors they haven’t been able to in six months – seeing friends and learning in a classroom.
“It feels normal when you’re here because you can take your mask off,” said Bell Elementary 4th grader Victoria Seaman, sitting at her desk and gesturing to the clear barrier atop it. “It’s nice. I get to see all of the teachers in person and the classrooms in person.”
“It’s a little different, but not really,” said Seaman’s classmate, Zach Sullivan. Sullivan spent the summer golfing, practicing football, and swimming. It’s no surprise one of his favorite subjects is physical education. He also likes chorus, and looked forward to the opening of school.
“It’s awesome,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan, like all elementary students whose families have not chosen fully-remote instruction, are attending school in person every school day. Middle school and high school students whose families have not chosen fully-remote instruction are attending in person every other day, and remotely when not in person.
“I’m super excited to get the kids back. The mixing of virtual and in-person learning may seem daunting, but I think it will be seamless. With apps like Zoom, you can make it seem like kids are in the classroom,” said middle school teacher Stef Olbrys.
“We’ve got great people. We’ve made lots of plans which we are continuing to revise. We will adapt to the needs of our students,” said Windsor Central Middle School principal Kevin Strahley.
While the return to school meant a return to normal to a degree, it was hard to ignore the changes.
“It’s weird not to see everyone at once. There are kids in (cohort) B (not here today). There are directions we have to walk in the hallway. It’s confusing, but there are arrows, so it’s not that bad,” said high school senior Erica Daquin. “But, classes are also smaller and go by more quickly, so I like that.”
“Just being able to see them and know they’re ok, it’s great,” said high school teacher Kristi Symons. “It’s tough not being able to hug them, but an elbow bump is fine for now.”