Final yr, the phrasing of “again to high school” had a special that means to a number of districts within the space. Return to high school meant restricted classroom measurement, distant studying days, and a number of different precautions within the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This yr, as a number of districts returned to high school Tuesday with a special feeling: Normalcy.
Dunkirk, Gowanda, Silver Creek, and Cassadaga Valley have been among the many districts to welcome college students again at this time and all 4 districts have been blissful to announce that issues felt way more regular than final yr’s return. Tuesday’s good climate for the return of scholars solely added to the sense of normalcy.
“It’s superior on the market at this time,” mentioned Cassadaga Valley Superintendent Charles Leichner. “The climate is so good; I noticed some children out strolling round. It seems like college once more.”
So far as Cassadaga Valley goes, Leichner mentioned that he had been by way of each buildings all through the day and peaked by way of the lecture rooms to report that they have been peaceable and regular. The shortage of really notable occasions coupled with the joy from college students and academics to be again is precisely what Leichner wished to see from the day.
“I don’t have something excellent to report, which is precisely the place we wish to be,” he mentioned. “There may be peace within the Valley.”
Silver Creek’s Superintendent Todd Crandall echoed a number of the identical issues that Leichner mentioned about Cassadaga Valley for Silver Creek. These in Silver Creek additionally appeared excited to return to the constructing full time. Final yr firstly of faculty, Silver Creek was in a hybrid studying mannequin for the highschool college students, whereas the elementary college students have been again at round 70% capability. This yr although, Crandall was blissful to see the scholars again at school.
“We’re tremendous excited to not solely have children again within the constructing after this summer season, however we’re doubly excited as a result of we’ve got all the youngsters again,” Crandall mentioned. “With the hybrid schedule we didn’t have many of the children again however this yr we do. Even within the elementary college final yr, we began at round 70% and ended with 85% in particular person. It’s good to see everyone right here.”
Crandall famous the scholars’ pleasure to come back again with their new garments and apparel, however within the hallways, there may be nonetheless protocol to comply with. Silver Creek remains to be doing well being questionnaires and temperature checks, whereas having children keep house in the event that they do get sick. Even by way of the improved rules, issues nonetheless largely really feel regular for Silver Creek Central.
“I’m certain the youngsters like everybody together with myself would find it irresistible if we didn’t must have these things in place to get them again, however they’re following them,” Crandall mentioned. “It’s a bit of bit extra regular. There’s nothing occurring this yr that didn’t occur final yr.”
Gowanda’s distant state of affairs was similar to Silver Creek’s final yr, as college students above the elementary stage by no means returned full time to the varsity. Gowanda Superintendent Dr. Robert Anderson mentioned that the return was pretty much as good as it’s another yr.
“It was nice to see all our youngsters again in particular person and understanding they’ll be right here 5 days per week and in particular person for so long as we are able to preserve them right here primarily based on situations,” Anderson mentioned. “College students have been welcomed with open arms and have been able to go. It felt about as regular as it will probably at this level.”
Of all of the returns that districts noticed, maybe none have been extra fascinating than the return at Dunkirk Central College. Whereas they needed to undergo the same roadblocks and rules the opposite colleges did, Dunkirk’s mannequin of education has additionally modified. The Dunkirk Excessive College is now Dunkirk Center-Excessive College and may have grades seven to 12, whereas the center college is now an intermediate constructing, housing grades three to 6. Dunkirk Superintendent Michael Mansfield mentioned that on his journey by way of the buildings, every little thing seemed prefer it was going easily on the primary day.
“I’m certain I’ll get extra reviews from constructing directors later that go into extra element, however in my visits to the buildings, issues appeared superb,” Mansfield mentioned. “Folks appear blissful to get again and really feel a bit extra regular.”
Mansfield additionally famous that Dunkirk’s attendance on the primary day was “superb” and that transportation and scheduling ran easily. In comparison with the chaos that final yr’s return featured, Mansfield is glad issues have been extra ironed out.
“I feel we’re used to masks sufficient now that it isn’t something new,” Mansfield mentioned. “Final yr every little thing was new and, on the fly, so this yr, apart from masks, it appears to be like like a normal opening.”
Whereas the faculties have been all blissful to welcome again college students, all districts are monitoring neighborhood transmission charges for COVID-19 and are able to react to any circumstance which will change.