back to school

Students Start Heading Back to School Amid Coronavirus Concerns

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Some students have started heading back to school in the state this week, while others are learning the start of their school year is being delayed.

Newington is starting the school year with a half day. The school district is operating with a hybrid model, in which students are separated into two groups -- blue and gold -- with each rotating between in-person classes and distance learning.

Newington schools have put new guidelines in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masks will be worn to cover mouths and noses. If students did not have a mask, the school bus driver provided one.

Students are beginning to return to school for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close in March.

Six feet of social distance is also required at all times and students are being instructed to wash their hands often with soap and water. Hand sanitizer and hand wipes will also be available.

“This is a very anxiety-producing experience," Maggie Kolodziejczyk, of Newington, said. "I’m hoping the school is really prepared. We got pictures of classrooms and kids are really separated. So hopefully it’s gonna be a good first day of school.”

Monday is the first day of school at Ruth Chaffee Elemetary School in Newington.

“Sometimes a lot of kids cannot breathe through the mask a lot so some kids might take them off so I just want to say please don’t take your mask off,” Gabriella Kolodziejczyk a, fourth grade student at Ruth Chaffee Elementary School, said.

Over the weekend, some students said they were looking forward to the start of the school year.

“I miss some of my teachers and my friends,” said Jonathan Gil, a seventh-grade student in Newington.

For many, it’s been more than five months since they’ve been in a classroom after the pandemic forced shutdowns in March.

Vivian Dejesus' grandson is going into first grade and the Newington woman thinks it’s a good move that the town is choosing a hybrid option instead of in-person and virtual learning.

“I think they need to get back to school. They’ve been out for a while,” Dejesus said.

And she believes the district is taking the right steps to help protect kids from coronavirus in school.

Some kids will start heading back to school in the state this week.

In Newington, the superintendent demonstrated plastic shields they will have while eating lunch and during breaks from masks, which will take place once an hour for high school students and 30 to 40 minutes for elementary grades.

“I think they are going to take the necessary precautions to keep these kids safe and if at some point we feel that safety is compromised, then we will obviously pull him back,” Dejesus said.

Students in Canton, Cromwell and Vernon will also start classes on Monday. Other schools begin later this week or in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, New Britain announced it is delaying the start of school year. A statement on the website for the Consolidated School District of New Britain says that school will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8 instead of Thursday, Sept. 3.

Not all students and parents are comfortable with a return to the classroom and that’s why some will continue to stay at home.

“The effects of COVID and being exposed to it in my household seeing as I have a newborn, it's just not, there’s just too much risk involved for me,” said Christia Busgith, of West Hartford.

That’s why Busgith's son, who is going into sixth grade, was signed up for distance learning. though she said it didn’t get off to a smooth start in the spring.

"Hopefully the teachers are more involved this year and they do a lot more Zoom meetings so that the kids can be involved like they are in a classroom versus sitting in front of a screen and just doing online stuff,” said Busgith.

It will be an unconventional beginning to school with many uncertainties left about how the year will go.

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