After months of closures, students returned to their classrooms in districts around Massachusetts Monday.
But with COVID-19 concerns guiding reopening plan, learning will be different this fall.
“Oh, it’s really hard,” said Madeline Bradley, a fifth grader in Duxbury, of her district’s mask policy.
Bradley was one of nearly 3,000 students returning to school in the community this week. Using a hybrid model, schools will welcome students back in cohorts, alternating between two days of in-person learning and two days at home.
“I was really scared it was just going to be all remote, and I’m so happy that she’s back to some sense of normalcy,” said Bradley’s mother, Liz.
Since March, Duxbury Public Schools has been preparing for the reopening, configuring classrooms in such a way to allow six feet of distance between desks at all times.
“Kids need to be in school. It’s as simple as that,” Duxbury Superintendent John Antonucci said.
To prepare for it, the district held a dry run of their new system, bringing students back for an orientation to see what their classrooms looked like and how students will move through the arrival and dismissal processes.
“Today went about as smoothly as it could be, given the changing conditions,” Antonucci said, “We provide a lot of services that students just need.”
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While Monday’s start was a welcome change of pace for educators and students, many are anticipating a steep learning curve when it comes to the continuation of remote learning.
“I think for the most part we are still ironing out issues with technology that we will always have to iron out,” said Chase Eschauzier, a principal at Alden Elementary School in Duxbury.
But even with the challenges that classes over Zoom may bring, many families are eager for the balance of in-person learning. Only 150 students opted for a fully remote program which the district made available.
“It feels awesome,” Liz Bradley said as she picked up her daughter. “I think kids need to be around other kids.”