GECDSB staff and students excited for back to school

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Back to school is an exciting time for students and faculty alike, even heading into the second back to school in the throes of COVID-19.

Greater Essex County District School Board Director, Erin Kelly, says staff are excited to welcome the kids back after a long time away.

"Some students may have some anxiety because they haven't been in our building," she continued. "So our number of days at the beginning of the year will be spent focusing on student's mental health, their anxiety and welcoming them back so they feel safe and comfortable in our building."

Kelly says she recently toured one of the new schools in the area and could feel the energy of kids and parents looking to get back to school, even amid the pandemic.

The board released its Reopening Plan for the 2021-22 school year last week, and Kelly says she's pleased with what has been delivered.

"Obviously our facilities staff and our health and safety people deserve a lot of recognition for getting that work together and making sure that our buildings are safe as there's lots of work that has to occur over the summer, and so we're in good shape that way."

Kelly says they're going to have to be flexible in working with the local health unit to meet the challenges of COVID when they arrive.

She says no one was expecting this situation to still be in place when they got last year's back to school off the ground, but a focus on health and safety is key.

"So, we have to make that our top priority ensuring our students return to feel comfortable and our families feel comfortable with that. But again we're still excited, it's going to be a different year but lots of good learning will occur and it'll be nice to have the students back in our buildings," Kelly said.

Despite the masks that kids will be wearing, Kelly says there will be lots of smiles and joy underneath as kids and teachers return to the classroom.