The crossing guard was busy stopping traffic as streams of students and their parents returned to West Elementary School in Bethpage, all wearing masks and filled with first day jitters.
"I'm nervous and excited," said Manino, a 4th-grade student.
The Plainedge School District is one of a few Long Island districts starting this week with a blended learning program. Families had the choice to send students back five days a week or stay home and stream their classes, where attendance will be taken and lessons are all online.
"I'm happy they gave people the choice, but I work, we couldn't do that," said parent Lisa Chatterson.
Chatterson's son, Ryan, headed to school for the first time this year and she says wearing a mask for him was no problem.
"I think he's just excited to be in kindergarten," he said.
The welcome back signs greeted more than 70% of the students returning.
While the younger students will be at school five days per week, the middle schoolers and high schoolers will be on a hybrid system, including online learning which is daunting to some.
"I can NOT focus on online learning," one student said.
The school day required adjustments as masks had to be worn at all times except for lunchtime and a few breaks during the day.
In Massapequa at Charles Schwarting Elementary, some students said it was rough wearing a mask because "people couldn't understand you that well."
Desks were spaced six feet apart with no shared desk without disinfecting and with Plexiglass in between for higher grades. Decals are down on the ground both outside and in hallways reminding students to social distance.
It may take some getting used to, but many were happy to be back.
The majority of Long Island districts head back next week.
As for New York City kids, in-school school opening has been pushed back to September 21st. Remote learning begins on the 16th.
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