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Photo by Garth Guibord.
Mountain students thankful to return to the classroom posted on 10/01/2021

Last month, students returned to the Welches School for a full day of education for the first time in nearly 18 months. After more than a year of virtual learning and a limited return to the classroom, the kids were ready.

 

“I’m really excited to go back because my mom was going to make me go back to virtual, but then she realized I should probably come back to school to see my friends more,” third grader Bryan Califf said. “I’m really happy about that.”

Eighth grader Xavier Davis was surprised about how going back to school was easier than he anticipated, noting that the biggest differences was having to see people and his sudden lack of ability to grab a bite to eat.

“I would just stand up, turn my camera off, go downstairs, get food and come back,” Davis said about his experience in virtual learning, adding that it wasn’t much fun to work on the assignments he was given without talking to anybody about them.

Fellow eighth grader Emma Mayer noted that the time away from school impacted her social skills, while paying attention was a challenge with so many distractions at home. That made the return to school a pleasant one, but still a challenge with the sudden return of so many classmates.

“It was good, a little nerve wracking with so many people,” Mayer said.

Third grader Wren Schreiner spent her first year at the schools mostly learning from home, meaning her return to school this fall also includes meeting her new classmates in person.

“I am really excited to get to know everybody here and get some new friends,” she said, adding that she loves how small the school is after going to one that was “huge.” “I had a really fun time there, but now at Welches I’ve been having way more fun.”

And while fifth grader Gunnar London is excited to see his teacher and friends in person, he did note a couple things that were pleasant about his time learning at home.

“I do miss the mute button,” he said, “And it was nice that I didn't have to wake up in the morning.”

Principal Kendra Payne noted the start of the school year did have a few challenges, including an impact from the bus driver shortage that is felt throughout the state and the need to refine the loop for parents to drive through and pick up their children. But she also wanted to thank the community for helping to make the best of it all.

“We just really appreciate everybody's patience,” Payne said. “I’m just really grateful for the community.”

By Garth Guibord/MT

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