By JOHN HOWELL and ARDEN BASTIA There was something missing for the first day of in-person kindergarten Wednesday at Wyman School - school buses and tears. Well, there was one case of separation anxiety that Principal Celio adeptly dealt with when the
There was something missing for the first day of in-person kindergarten Wednesday at Wyman School – school buses and tears. Well, there was one case of separation anxiety that Principal Celio adeptly dealt with when the boy’s family was permitted to accompany him to the classroom.
More than 500 kindergartners citywide were eligible to return to their neighborhood school classrooms Wednesday under a hybrid plan where the students have two days of in-person instruction and two days of distance learning. Throughout the month grades 1 to 5 will return to in-person learning.
A total of 125 kindergarteners were present for in-person learning Wednesday, about 44 percent of the 279 students opting into the hybrid model. Because of the closure of Sherman Elementary School and Norwood Elementary School, not everyone got to return.
Both schools cancelled in-person learning when administrators were unable to find a substitute nurse for either building. “Under the COVID circumstances, it’s not safe to reopen without a full-time nurse,” explains Assistant Superintendent Lynn Dambruch. The school department is working with agencies to secure on-call nursing substitutes, but is sharing the pool of subs with other schools throughout the state. Thankfully, there are two substitute nurses lined up for tomorrow.
Key to the hybrid program, said Superintendent Philip Thornton, is the exchange of classroom air. Wyman School kindergarten windows and door were open and the walls were marked in blue tape where air filters will be installed. Thornton said the first 60 filters arrived Tuesday and that an additional 1,200 are on the way.
Parents either drove or walked their children to Wyman on Wednesday. As they arrived, they were directed to stand on circles that formed lines for each of the classrooms. Then, when the bell rung, they were led into the school by class.
Dambruch said the department is still addressing the issue of busing. She noted that the committee approved an additional 14 buses, however, finding drivers and monitors is a problem.
Parents and their children were excited to have Wyman open.
Monica Tobiansky, who has been working from home while overseeing distance learning for her son, Sebastian, is looking forward to a break. And it was obvious, as Celio directed Sebastian to a line that he was ready, too.
“This is a great day. I hope everyday is like this,” said Mayor Joseph J. Solomon who joined Thornton, Dambruch and a gaggle of reporters to watch parents and their children arrive.
Inside the school, teachers and their assistants were ready.
“It’s nice to finally see them in person,” said Ashleigh Nyblom, who has been teaching kindergarten for the past three years at Wyman.
In preparation for the first day of in-person school for the students, Celio did a virtual tour of the building so the kids would have an idea of what to expect. The principal also praised custodian Bob Kissinger who “keep the place super clean.”
First grade students will start returning on Oct. 20; second grade on Oct. 22; third grade on Oct. 27; fourth grade on Oct. 29, and fifth grade on Nov. 4.