COURTESY CMSD NEWS BUREAU
The second phase of the CMSD reopening plan began Monday as students in preschool through second grade and ninth and 12th graders returned to school for hybrid learning.
At William Rainey Harper School, music, balloons and a blue walkway were just some of the accessories staff used to welcome students back to the building.
“I’m nervous,” Leighanna Rollins said as she dropped her son off at school.
With mixed emotions, parents said goodbye to their children with hugs and kisses.
“It is about time,” Kristin Gardener said while walking her daughter, who is in kindergarten, to the front door.
The return to school building comes almost a year to the day that Gov. Michael DeWine sent children home for remote learning to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We have been preparing and planning for their return ever since,” Principal Ajayi Monell said. “I am so excited.”
Safety precautions, including temperature checks when students enter the building and requirements to wear facemasks and maintain social distancing, are in place at all CMSD school buildings.
Students whose families chose hybrid learning have been grouped into cohorts, with some attending in person on Monday and Tuesday, others Thursday and Friday. They will work remotely on other days.
At East Technical High School, students who have returned are eager to learn, even if things are different.
“It just brought me more joy to be in the school,” said Za’Nya, a ninth-grader who was experiencing her very first day attending high school. “It felt so amazing.”
Now that the District has transitioned to hybrid learning, some students, like Omarion, feel their grades will improve.
“I wasn’t doing so good in the classes online because of lack of focus,” said Omarion, a senior. “So now that we are back in school I can write stuff down and turn it in to my teachers.”
CEO Eric Gordon has said that some students thrived in remote learning but acknowledged that others had difficulty adjusting.
“A lot of kids struggled,” he said. “They need to see their teachers and have that interaction.”
Gordon says brighter days are ahead now that students are returning to the classroom.
“It has been a long year for all of us,” he said. “But our kids are back. This is a great day. We are finally seeing our way through this pandemic.”
The third and final phase of the transition to hybrid will come next week with the return of students in the third through eighth grades and 11th and 12th grades.