COLUMBUS, Ind. — Students in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. began classes on Thursday, marking the start of what could be the first relatively “normal” school year since the pandemic hit.
“We plan to return to in-person, full-day instruction with no COVID-19 restrictions for the upcoming school year,” said Superintendent Jim Roberts. “…We’re basically starting next year as we ended the last year. So masks and specific social distancing, all those kind of very specific things that we put in place are not necessarily a part of the plan.”
“However, we still stress the handwashing pieces, and we have all the sanitation areas available for washing hands. And all of the things that we put in place over a couple of years’ period of time to be more safe than we were before will continue as a normal part, now, of our processes and procedures.”
According to school officials, masks are optional in all situations, including school buses.
Of course, a normal year still brings normal challenges — early morning traffic, first day jitters and the occasional sprinkling of rain before the bell rings.
For Northside Middle School student Mwajuma Mwikali entering 8th grade is “a little nerve-wracking.”
“It’s important to be surrounded by good people,” she said, adding that she looks forward to seeing her friends again.
7th grader Morgan Clark said she’s “kind of nervous but also kind of excited” about making new friends. She recently moved to Northside from St. Peter’s Lutheran.
“Small school, but once you’ve been there for a while, you get to know everyone,” she said. “And people don’t leave that often, so when they do, it’s kind of a big deal.”
For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.