Belvidere teachers welcome students back into classroom for first time since the pandemic began

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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — This week, Belvidere School District teachers are welcoming students back into classrooms. It’s the first time since March of last year–when the pandemic began.

“It’s a combination of excited and nervous,” explained Lincoln Elementary 5th Grade teacher Maggie Blackburn.

“Most of our kids have not been in a classroom since March 13th back in 2020,” said Belvidere District 100 Superintendent Dr. Daniel Weostman.

The Belvidere School District has begun to phase students back into the classroom for the first time this school year. Pre-K through First Grade began on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Second through Fifth Graders and middle and high school students will begin on Thursday.

“I’m excited to finally see these students that I’ve been seeing virtually since September, since the first day of school, but also nervous because of all of the guidelines we have to follow,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn says she has been cautiously preparing her classroom.

“Social distancing is going to be very difficult. So, [I’m] super nervous about that,” she explained. “We usually give the students an option to choose where they want to sit we have flexible seating options.”

“It just gives them more freedom for how they learn best, but now we’re back to the old schools rows of desks. It just looks very different,” Blackburn said.

About 55% or roughly 4,000 students in the district will be powering off their laptops and escaping the virtual classroom.

“All of our school administrators and staff have worked extra hard, worked a lot of nights, weekends trying to make sure we have a good plan for the week,” said Dr. Woestman.

“I think the main goal is just to get these kids having an honest conversation, asking questions because this is new not just to me but to all of them obviously,” Blackburn added.

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