Sam Hesler and WNYT Staff
Updated: February 22, 2021 05:34 PM
Created: February 22, 2021 12:40 PM
With backpacks and pencils in hand, third-graders at Rensselaer Park Elementary School headed back to the classroom for in-person learning for the first time in nearly a year Monday, and back to school jitters were in full swing.
"So far it's been really happy. Everybody has been thrilled. Everyone is anxious," Lansingburgh Central School District Superintendent Dr. Antonio Abitabile explained. "We closed down March 17, so to think that they have gotten to know these children in such a different way, they are excited to actually get to see them face-to-face in their classes. This has been a long time coming."
In August, the Lansingburgh Central School District decided to go with virtual learning for students in grades 3-12 because of financial issues, but Superintendent Abitabile says things are different now.
"Well, over the last month, we learned the financial situation may not be as bad as we originally thought in August when we decided we were going to close. Additionally, the infection rates are going down quite a bit as well," Abitabile said.
Fourth and fifth graders will head back to Rensselaer Park Elementary School later this week, and middle and high school students will head back to the classrooms next week.
On top of changes like social distancing and mask wearing, some students in the district, like those in third grade, face a unique challenge.
"They have never even been in that building. They are new to the building. We have to get them used to knowing where their classroom is, knowing where the gym is, where the office is," the superintendent said.
No matter what challenges they face, Dr. Abitabile says he knows the Lansingburgh Knights will rise up to any occasion.
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