'Nervouscited' kids, parents & educators as schools open to in-person learning

Students arriving for the first day of school at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School in London, Ont., Sept. 7, 2021. (Sean Irvine / CTV London)

It was a quick picture and a quick hug, even for the “big kids” returning to school Tuesday.

Allison Gortzek dropped her daughter Kaitlyn off for her first day of Grade 9 at Sir Wilfred Laurier Secondary School. Like most returning students, Allison says her daughter, has been anxious for some time.

“I believe the term being used over the last couple of weeks was ‘nervouscited’ Nervous and excited all rolled into one.”

Of course, the return to classes in 2021 has an added layer of anticipation.

As was the case in the fall of 2020, the pandemic continues forcing students, parents and educators to adapt.

Byron Northview Public School Principal Marek Miszkiewicz says his team is ready to once again, take on the challenges of in-person learning during the pandemic.

“We know we can’t predict what going to lie ahead but we do know that each and every day we can be here, we will be here for our students.”

Teacher Ashley Garrod is pleased to see her new class in person after months of online learning.

“We are really hoping this will be a normal year for everybody. And I think their health and their mental health is a top priority,” she says.

Heading into Grade 7, Byron Northview Student Cameron Bishop says, he’s thrilled to be back in a physical classroom, even if he is still forced to wear a mask and follow COVID safety protocols, adding, “I’m used to it. It doesn’t really bother me. I’m happy to be at school.”

It is the same for parent Paula Puddy, but she does wish there were a few more layers of protection.

“If there was a possibility to have smaller class sizes and more spacing, it would be a bonus. But we’ll take what we can get,” she explains.

Megan Vetere, who dropped off her daughter Claire for her first day of Grade 9 at Westminster, concurs and says, “I feel that kids need to be kids, and they need the socialization as a well as the learning. So, I’m happy they’re back.”

And as Allison Gortzek states, hopefully for good.

“My girl is fully vaccinated and so are we, I just hope we can stay in the classroom. I hope that we can see perhaps an end to what’s happening in our communities with the pandemic.”