Classes for Newington students begin with safety precautions, restrictions in place

Coronavirus

NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — It is the first day of school in several towns around Connecticut.

In Newington, News 8 saw parents and kids coming down the street, taking selfies, all the usual things, but there were only half as many of them as usual.

The Lewis family lives right next to Newington’s Ruth Chaffee Elementary School, so heading back to school is not a long walk, but it is a big step.

“We’re excited,” said mom Melissa Lewis, as she dropped her son off. “I think it’s time for him to see his friends again.”

He is not going to see the lower half of his friends’ faces very much, however. This year’s back to school photos include masks.

“I think some of the smaller kids might have a little bit of a tough time with it, but it’s important to get them back,” said dad David Bagioni.

Even if “back” is just two days a week. Newington is one of the districts using a hybrid model, alternating in-school and distance learning.

“It’s divided by the alphabet,” said Carlie Fisher, as she dropped off her 4th grader. “We’re Monday Thursday, the other kids are Tuesday Friday and Wednesdays are kind of a flex day.”

At Newington High School, they are making the class periods longer, with fewer breaks, but those breaks between classes are longer for washing hands and cleaning of desks. Things like band, chorus, and lunch will be done outdoors as much as possible.

Back at the elementary school, these kids will stay in their one classroom pretty much all day – no changing rooms for art and music. It’s going to be strange, but the thinking is, any school is better than no school.

“I like to see the kids get back to normal, but I don’t think it’s ever going to be normal for us again,” said Bagioni.

Like every district, Newington is also offering full-time, at home learning for those families who don’t think it’s safe yet for kids to head back to school in person.

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