First day of school is in the books for many north country districts

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 3:40 PM EDT
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SACKETS HARBOR, New York (WWNY) - The first day of school is in the books for many districts across the tri-county region. Students and faculty are excited to be back to in-person learning 5-days a week even with an uptick in COVID cases in the north country.

At Sackets Harbor Central School, Tuesday marked the first time everyone was back in the building since March of 2020

“I guess that’s one of the most exciting things for me, is that everybody is back under one roof,” said Superintendent Jennifer Gaffney.

Members of her staff echo that sentiment

“They are excited to see us - the kids are. They are excited to see the teachers. That’s the best part for sure,” said Sonya Esposito, a teacher.

In Watertown, the annual senior parade kicked off the new school year. Cars and trucks were decked out in streamers and paint as they made their was down Washington Street toward campus.

“I was really overwhelmed because I haven’t seen that much traffic since March of 2020. So, for me that’s a sign that we are making progress,” said Watertown City School District Superintendent Patti LaBarr.

She says progress along with a little bit of leeway in the state’s reopening guidance has made it possible to come back full-time

Fifth grade teacher Mandy Johnson says it’s all about getting back into a routine.

“Getting them excited about being here and kind of focusing on what we know they need and what we know is going to make them happy is what is going to make them, you know, succeed this year,” she said.

In Chaumont, Lyme Central School District Superintendent Cammy Morrison says unlike many other districts, they have been in person 5-days a week throughout the entirety of the pandemic. However, she hopes this year will feel even more normal.

“Really enhancing the academic and extracurricular and sport activities for our students and let them get back to being kids,” she said.

As the battle with COVID-19 continues, masks are required inside all schools. That mandate was handed down from the state Department of Health earlier this month.

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