Dozens of additional schools will open for pre-kindergarten to second-grade students in the School District of Philadelphia on Monday.
SARAH BLOOMQUIST: It is back to school day in March. Philadelphia has wrapped up its first day of hybrid learning after multiple delays. They started with a relatively small group today, but even more students and teachers will be headed back in the coming weeks. Monday afternoon, I'm Sarah Bloomquist.
BRIAN TAFF: And I'm Brian Taff. The big story on Action News today is the beginning of Philadelphia's hybrid plan, finally getting kids back inside classrooms. Those classrooms empty for almost a year. Action News reporter Maggie Kent now live outside of a school in North Philadelphia. Maggie, lots of excitement there today.
MAGGIE KENT: Lots of excitement, Brian and Sarah. We're at the Luis Marine-- excuse me. Luis Munoz-Marine Elementary School in North Philadelphia. And as you mentioned, lots of excitement, but also lots of spacing happening. There were only about 25 kids whose parents opted in for this program months and months ago. So the safety protocols really being followed here.
MANDY WHITE: 829. Very good.
MAGGIE KENT: Inside Mandy White's second grade classroom are three students behind plastic partitions. The remainder are participating online.
MANDY WHITE: It's getting a little bit getting used to. I have to remember to, like, look to my left to look for kids and look to my right to see the computer.
MAGGIE KENT: These kind of adjustments are being made throughout 53 Philadelphia Public Schools, which open for hybrid learning for the first time today. Right now, schools are open for pre-kindergarten through second graders whose parents adopted months ago for this option.
AMANDA JONES: A lot of our parents that did not get the chance to opt in during the first survey, they are eager and excited to have the opportunity to do that hopefully at the end of March.
MAGGIE KENT: The school district has just announced that 45 additional schools will reopen their doors for hybrid learning come next Monday, March 15.
WILLIAM HITE: Beginning to welcome some of our students back, there's a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.
MAGGIE KENT: So far, so good. How did it go? Tell me about it.
MAGGIE KENT: But what if this transition brings anxiety? Therapist, Mark Sigmund from Retreat Behavioral Health says a steady schedule is key.
MARK SIGMUND: If you're really worried about your kids and the transition, you know, we recommend sometimes even doing a practice run. Where you drive your kids over to the school.
MAGGIE KENT: His son, a fourth grader who has been in hybrid since early February says--
MARK SIGMUND JR: I was definitely nervous, but after the first day, it was so much easier.
MAGGIE KENT: And he says the best part about returning is, obviously, getting to see your classmates and chatting during those breaks that they get. We mentioned, 45 additional schools will be reopening from prekindergarten to second grade come next Monday. We have a full list of those schools on our website, 6ABC.com/Links.
We're live in North Philadelphia tonight. Maggie Kent, Channel 6 Action News. Sarah.
SARAH BLOOMQUIST: A great day for those kids. Happy for them. Thanks, Maggie.