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Students in Cromwell, Glastonbury return to in-person classes amid ‘new normal’ of the pandemic


CROMWELL, Conn. (WTNH) — Extensive planning and listening sessions over the summer paid off in Cromwell, judging by the smiles of the students, the parents, and teachers on the first day of school Monday. And over in Glastonbury where it was a full day for middle and high school students, most kids opted to come back for in-person classes, too.

Both districts are opting for a hybrid model.

“I really wanted to go back to school,” said Cromwell High School freshman Sophia Milardo.

On her first day back to school in nearly six months, Sophia saw most of her old friends. But with new protocols in place, she says some are easier to adapt to than others. 

“At the moment we don’t have mask breaks, so we’re wearing them all day,” said Sophie, adding that she managed it fine. 

She’s a good role model for her little brothers at Cromwell Middle School, twins Brady and Griffin.

“We have to be in separate hallways. If you’re going down to study hall, you have to be here on the right side. If you’re going to math, you have to be on the other side walking,” described Brady.

“The mask thing and no recess was really different,” added Griffin.

Despite the challenges, the Milardos and their classmates were visibly thrilled to be back.

The only real sign of anxiety was the number of parents waiting at school pick-up for early dismissal. Most families are opting to skip the school bus, for now.

Middle School Principal Ann Cocchiola and Superintendent Dr. Enza Macri say that’ll likely change as everyone gets used to the new normal.

“What hasn’t changed is the excitement of a brand new school year and meeting our kids and working with them,” said Principal Cocchiola.

“We’re in uncharted territory. We’re all learning together. It’s really important for us to be flexible and stay positive,” said Dr. Macri.

On Day One, they received rave reviews.

“Everything went very smoothly. It was well-executed and planned,” said Bethany Milardo, mom of Sophia and the twins.

The superintendent says they will be using this week to ease into the ‘new normal’ for the school year and work out all the kinks so by next week the restrictions and protocols will be old hat for the students and staff.

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