Apr. 8—SALISBURY — Classes were back in session — in person — at Salisbury Elementary School on Wednesday and most students were happy to be back.
Students in the Triton Regional School District have been learning in either a hybrid or remote learning model since fall, which meant some took classes solely online while others had a mix of online classes and small, in-person classes.
But students from kindergarten to eighth grade returned to full-time, in-person learning Wednesday. High school students are set to return Monday.
Salisbury Elementary Principal James Montanari said he was thrilled to have most of his students back in the building at the same time.
"There is a sense of unity, a sense of relief," he said. "The kids are happy and are excited. The parents are relieved."
He thanked his teachers for preparing for the return to school Wednesday.
"They are ready now but they were ready a long time ago," Montanari said. "This is a taste of what it was and what it will be."
Sixth-grade teacher Megan Campbell was reading along with her entire class for the first time together and in person since March 13, 2020.
"Half of these kids were on a computer screen and half of them were here just a week ago," she said. "It's wonderful to see them all here and not on a screen. We are reading a novel right now and we can have discussions and read together. This is much more conducive to learning."
Campbell's students appeared happy to be back in school together.
"It feels kind of awkward to be back in class but it is also great," Liam Rooney said. "I get to see a lot of my friends and I get to socialize more than I could on a screen."
Liam admitted that his enthusiasm was tempered by the fact he knows that school could return to a hybrid learning model at any time.
"I also feel like this is finally over and I'm definitely going to enjoy the time that I have to socialize," he said.
Laci Jenkins has been going to school full time and in-person since September. She was glad to welcome her classmates back.
"It's different but good," Laci said. "It's better and I can see all of my friends."
Brady Neary said having a full class together is "cool."
"This is better than talking to a computer," he said. "It's better just to bunch all of the kids together and into one."
Camryn Coburn said she found the return to school a bit awkward.
"You haven't seen these people since March," Camryn said.
Mateus Paixao also admitted to being a bit put off by the return to school.
"It's really awkward because I haven't seen any of these people in awhile and everyone has changed in certain ways," Mateus said. "Last year, I wouldn't have thought they would have changed as much as they have. So it was really weird to see everybody in one place again."
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.