ROCKFORD, Ill (WTVO) – Thursday was the first day of school for thousands of Rockford Public School District students. After a challenging year due to COVID, student said they were eager to return back to the classroom.
“He was excited. He got up real early, got his clothes, shoes, and book bag and was just ready,” said Rockford parent, Laronda Graham.
Graham’s son, Kingston, walked into Bloom Elementary this morning.
“Last year, we started being remote from 50 percent of our families but by the time the year ended we were at 65% of students in the building so we’re really getting back to normal and this year having everyone back is going to be awesome,” said Bloom Principal Pati Strehl.
The Rockford Public School District had all students returning to in-person learning, compared to last year which started with remote classes but ended with 65% of the students in the building.
“Just doing in person learning is obviously a lot easier for the kids and it’s probably not [my son’s] favorite thing doing online learning,” said another parent, Joanna Mercer.
Dr. Ehren Jarrett, Superintendent of the Rockford Public School District said the district is making every effort possible effort to make a safe learning environment for the kids.
Some implementations the district made for the school year include vaccination campaigns, safety protocols, added nurses, social distancing, and cleaning protocols.
“Whether it’s vaccination campaign, safety protocols, partnering up with the Winnebago County Health Department, having nurses in place social distancing, cleaning protocols – we’re doing what we can to make sure learning, and in person learning, is safe and just a wonderful experience for our students when they come back,” Jarret said.
“I just want the kids to be safe and have a healthy school year and can stay off remote learning and come to school,” Graham said.
Jarrett said the focus will be on recruiting more bus drivers, after the district said it did not have enough workers to cover every bus route this year.