Eyewitness News was there this morning as educators checked the temperatures of elementary school students making their way inside the Academy of St. Paul and St. Ann in East Harlem.
The first day of in-person learning throughout the Archdiocese of New York brought about enthusiasm...
"I'm excited to see my friends," said 6th grader Khloe Dela Cruz.
... and some nerves.
"My daughter hasn't had the vaccine yet," said one mother.
But parents and students said they are happy to return to some sense of normalcy.
Catholic schools in the city held in-person classes five days a week last year, unlike city public schools.
The Archdiocese of New York says it was a success because they kept the same children together each day to reduce exposure to COVID-19.
That's something they will be doing again this year, this time with no remote or hybrid option.
"We consulted experts, we followed everything they told us to do," said Archdiocese of New York Schools Superintendent Michael Deegan. "As a result, we had no infection rates or transmission within our system.
Deegan says on top of the daily disinfecting, hand sanitizing stations and signage reminding folks to practice social distancing, the schools have been equipped with improved ventilation.
Catholic school officials are encouraging vaccinations, and masks are required in all buildings.
"We are not back," said Deegan. "We are better than back."
Leaders in the Brooklyn Diocese say if parents are uncomfortable with in-person learning, there is a fully online option available: the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Online Academy.
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