ROCHESTER, Minn. - It may feel like the first day of school again for many students and families as the Rochester Public School District welcomes all middle and high school students back into the classroom.
With students required to learn at a distance for nearly a year Willow Creek Principal Andrew Kappel says it’s been a combination of excitement and nerves on their first day back.
He explained, “It's different but it's very good and it's very refreshing to see kids faces and for them to see each other. I would say overall the experience in the building and feeling in the building today was one of very positive energy and people just being re-energized to finish the year strong.”
Kappel says the schedule hasn’t changed too much from pre-pandemic learning however he does say more lunches have been built in to the schedule to allow for social distancing.
He also says inside the classrooms desks and class sizes are smaller. Technology is also being used in different ways to account for the 20% of Willow Creek Middle School students who have opted to still learn from home.
He added, “We’re utilizing technology, as we've learned how to do in different ways this year already, to incorporate both those students in-person and those students at home to collaborate whether you're sitting in the same room or you're in a different room. Some change, some stay the same. It’s very much school as we knew it in a very different way.”
A schedule change for both middle and high school students involves when the day ends. It’s not a half an hour earlier at 2pm so teachers are able to have a bit of extra planning time.