Teachers got ready Thursday morning for the first day at the Elmwood Franklin School. Here, they’re setting up for some outdoor learning.
As moms and dads dropped their kids off, you could see they were excited to get back to class. Seventh-grader Anna Karassik says she missed her teachers.
“I’m used to being one-on-one with my teachers and I was just missing it a lot,” she said.
Parents, like Kathy Byrnes, were also excited for kids to be back.
“Even myself having a background in education, I had a difficult time teaching my kids at school. It’s just not the same,” she said.
Interim Head of School Dr. Keith Frome says they’ve been working on their reopening plan since April. They put together five teams of parents, staff, and experts to develop it. And they learned a lot of lessons from the summer camp they ran this past summer.
“Camp went really, really well and the rituals we developed were easily learned and implemented so we are feeling really good today,” he said.
One thing they are implementing are five wellness stations at entrance points. Kids will get their temperatures checked, asked a small questionnaire, and then they will head to their classroom, or cohort as Dr. Frome refers to it as, and be with that cohort the rest of the day.
“We think if you follow what we call four channel markers, which is keep your distance, keep your mask on, wash your hands, and try to maintain your cohort as much as you can, we think we can keep everybody safe,” he said.
During camp, he says they saw it was possible for kids to follow the rules and keep their masks on. He also said there are lots of windows and doors that can ensure a proper air flow. But he also adds there is a culture of mutual care at Elmwood Franklin that will ensure the rules are followed too.
“We’ve always had that culture, we have been very blessed by that for 125 years and the team of teachers and staff and parents are really, really tight and we saw that culture being embedded with students as well,” he said.
And Byrnes says she feels confident in that.
“My husband was a part of the reopening team and I was able to see first-hand what they were coming up with and during their welcome day on Wednesday, we were able to see how everything was spaced apart and all the measures they were taking for safety,” she said.
Elmwood Franklin is also celebrating 125 years — a milestone even the pandemic didn’t stop.
“We are going to deliver Elmwood Franklin at the end of the ‘COVID Era,’ intact and ready for another 125 years.”