By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
It’s the day many have been waiting 10 months for: some Bend-La Pine Schools elementary school students returned to the classroom Monday.
While many things at school look different this year, Silver Rail Elementary Principal Tammy Doty said many students are excited to be back.
“There’s a lot of little rules and stuff we have to learn or things we have to do differently, but there are a lot of things that can still be the same,” Doty said.
According to BLP, an overwhelming majority of students are choosing to return to the classroom in the next few weeks.
Out of 1,200 BLP families who responded to a school survey, 86.5% will return to in-person learning; 7.2% will participate in Bend-La Pine Schools Online; 6.3% will continue comprehensive distance learning.
“I think people for the most part are really happy to see the kids back in school,” Doty said. “At the same time cautious. They want to know we have things set up for their children to be safe.”
Kindergarten through 3rd grade returned to school full-time Monday; 4th and 5th grades will return to the classroom in a hybrid model starting Feb. 1; 6th through 12th grade will return Feb. 8.
“It’s starting to feel like it has in the past, where we have classrooms full of kids and they’re happy to be here,” Doty said.
Doty said the first day back went well, with a majority of kids and teachers back in the classroom.
“We were fortunate that we didn’t lose anybody to not feeling like they couldn’t come back,” Doty said. “The vaccinations are helping teachers feel safe.”
Their drop off and pick up process might need a few tweaks, Doty said, as many students opted out of riding the bus this year. But mask-wearing is so far so good.
“A little reminder here and there to put their mask over their nose or something, but other than that no big issues yet,” Doty said. “I think they’re accepting that this is the world we live in right now.”