Elementary school students prepare for in-person learning Monday

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Starting Monday, elementary students are returning to the classroom for full in-person learning.

That includes Springfield Public Schools, the second largest school district in the state. It will be the first time children have been in the classroom since the pandemic started.

“My daughter got to pick out a brand new backpack. It’s white. It has padded straps, it’s got a unicorn on it and we are packing it tonight. We have a nice detailed list from the school,” said Robert Rizzuto from Springfield.

Rizzuto’s daughter will finally get to have kindergarten in the classroom for the first time.

While Springfield is one of the dozens of districts allowed to have a slowed rollout, Education Commissioner Jeffery Riley said 90 percent of the state’s district will be fully in person for elementary schools by Monday.

For Rizzuto, he’s excited to see his daughter finally gets to meet her classmates.

“We’ve done the best we can to entertain her and really keep her educated at the same time. But she’s most excited to go back and see her friends that she’s really only gotten to know over the computer,” He told 22News.

But walking into the classroom comes with new rules.

“Students will use a sanitizing wipe on their hands then wipe down their desk,” Rizzuto said. Students will also need to eat lunch in the classroom, and a few extra items have been added to the school supply list. “At least two masks you know so you have one to wear plus a backup and hand sanitizer.”

There was question over whether or not Springfield public schools would have a shortage of bus drivers, but on Saturday the district said bus routes should be on time if not close to it.

Elementary students will also head back to class in Greenfield, they have been remote since March of last year. And Amherst Pelham Regional Public Schools will be welcoming back kindergartners- through second grade for in-person learning as well.

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