By ARDEN BASTIA On Tuesday, Jan. 19, ninth graders at Pilgrim High School were welcomed into the building. For these students, it is their first time in high school. Half of the ninth grade class started in-person learning on Jan. 19, while the second
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, ninth graders at Pilgrim High School were welcomed into the building. For these students, it is their first time in high school. Half of the ninth grade class started in-person learning on Jan. 19, while the second half of students started on Wednesday, Jan. 20. By the end of the week, all Warwick students will have returned to a hybrid, in-person learning model.
Shelia Sanzi teaches physical education at Pilgrim and is looking forward to working with her students in person. “It’s good to see their faces, even with the masks,” she said on Tuesday.
Principal Gerald Habershaw explained that in a normal academic year, the students would gather in the auditorium for an orientation and welcome from administrators and staff. This year, things look a little different. Habershaw, along with assistant principal of teaching and learning Cheri Guerra, assistant principal of climate and culture for grades 10 and 12 Pam Bernardi, and assistant principal of climate and culture for grades 9 and 11 Bruce Fairbanks, joined students during their English periods to welcome them into the building.
“I want to welcome you all to the first day. I know it seems strange, but we’re here finally,” Habershaw addressed a ninth grade English class, laying out the protocols for COVID-19 compliant learning.
Marc Cotnoir, a science teacher at Pilgrim, pointed out that his students wipe down their desks before and after eating lunch, use hand sanitizer regularly, and are responsible for keeping their masks on at all times. “We have to make sure nobody comes down with anything. We can’t have anyone getting sick. It’s going to be interesting,” he said.
“Just getting them back in is totally necessary right now,” Habershaw said in an interview. “We need live bodies to work with because a lot of kids struggle with the online learning. Now, we can ramp them up and help them and work with these kids. It’s difficult to be self-motivated.”
Habershaw is confident that once teachers and students get a few weeks of in-person learning, “people will feel more comfortable. It’s good to see the kids again. This is what I signed up for, not to be a virtual principal.”