Spring is in the air, a time for change and renewal and that certainly describes Alden Primary and Intermediate Schools this week as they now are back to 100 percent in-person learning. With such a monumental occasion underway, I sat down with some of the faculty and staff at Alden Intermediate to get their reactions and thoughts on having the school feel complete again, as well as how this change impacts the rest of the year.
On Monday, April 26, students in kindergarten through 6th grade did something they haven’t done since early March 2020: They went to school with all of their classmates. Even though the students are ecstatic to be back, students back full-time in the classroom have all of the teachers and administrators in high spirits as well.
Jill Olka is the K-5 music teacher here in the district and one who knows all too well about the hardships of hybrid learning.
“If you ask a kid to hum or play an instrument, they tend to get shy with only eight kids in the classroom …” Olka said. “When you have eighteen kids now in the classroom it allows them to take more chances.” Nevertheless, she is extremely optimistic about having more students branch out and participate in lessons with the fuller classrooms.
This opening of schools, just like the beginning of hybrid learning back in September, comes with new regulations that have been put in place and principal John Mikulski has been working diligently to make sure the school is safe for all of the returning students. “The biggest change within the classroom under the new guidelines is that we can have all students in a classroom if they are three feet of distance apart and always wearing their masks,” Mikulski said.
Even though normal school may mean a change in lesson plans for the teachers and getting up earlier for students, it’s a huge step forward in making the primary and intermediate schools whole again.