The reopening of schools on Sept. 8 and 9 for in-person learning found students, teachers and staff excited to embrace the many educational challenges and adventures for the 2020-2021 school year. Students were optimistic as they arrived to each of the district’s eight school buildings, diligently maintaining safety and health protocols, and eager to share memories of their summer vacation and begin this unique school year.

“After many months of working collaboratively with administrators, teachers and parents on developing an approved reopening plan that meets the health, safety and wellness needs of our students in these challenging times, it was rewarding and inspiring to see our goals become a reality,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. “It was wonderful to see our schools come to life, and to see the enthusiasm of our staff and students. Thanks to our students, staff and parents for making the first day of school a success and to our Board of Education for their ongoing support.”

The district has implemented numerous safety protocols to ensure a safe return for students and staff including wrist scanner thermometers, thoroughly sanitized classrooms equipped with socially distanced desks and individual desk partitions, and highly visible signage reminding everyone to maintain social distance and hygiene protocols. Throughout the district, students learned about their new schedules, routines and their teachers’ expectations to successfully prepare them for the upcoming school year. At Atkinson Intermediate School, students were warmly welcomed by Principal Gisselle Campbell-Ham who was on hand to guide students to their classrooms, while teachers helped students get settled for a day of engaging educational activities. High School students arrived to school safely and smoothly as Principal Joseph Mille greeted and reminded students to stay safe and enjoy their first day back. The Archer Street School students from kindergarten to fourth grade happily navigated the hallways to find their classrooms excitedly wearing their new backpacks filled with their school supplies for the year.

While in-person learning is just getting underway, remote learning for all students began on Sept. 4 with a variety of virtual learning activities including reading lessons, math lessons and even virtual tours of their school buildings to ensure students were familiarized with their new surroundings.

All schools in the district are operating on a hybrid back-to-school model. Students have been divided into two cohorts and alternate attending in-person learning Mondays through Thursdays, with Fridays acting as a synchronous and asynchronous remote learning day.

The district is thrilled to welcome students back to a new school year. Although the schools look different than ever before, the district’s goals remain the same to educate all students to achieve their fullest potential in a safe and nurturing environment.