School doors open

Tracy Area Elementary School kindergarten teacher Kaitlin Rohlik shows 5-year-old Kennedy Burch a notebook she will be using this school year during last Wednesday’s open house. Photos / Per Peterson

By Per Peterson

The 2021-22 school year got under way Tuesday, but there was something missing inside the hallways and classrooms at Tracy Area Elementary School. And no one was complaining.

School children returned to school this week with backpacks in tow, just like last year. However, unlike a forgettable 2020, students didn’t need to wear a mask inside the school building if they didn’t want to. And don’t think for a second the teachers don’t appreciate that.

“There was one girl last year, when she was outside at recess, she took her mask off and I didn’t even recognize her,” second-grade teacher Samantha Prahm said at last week’s open house. “I’m like, ‘Oh, you have such a pretty smile!’ Last year was hard, but I’m excited to get back to normal and be in groups.”

At last Wednesday’s open house — an event that didn’t take place a year ago — parents and their little ones got an up-close look at classrooms and got to meet their teachers. While that might sound like no big deal in the grand scheme of things, considering they weren’t able to do so in 2020 made last week’s event a pretty monumental event — one that signaled, at least for the time being, a return to normalcy.

“It’s nice to have the parents be able to come back in the rooms,” said kindergarten paraprofessional Jenny Towne.

Teachers last week said it’s nice for them to be able to put a face with a parents’ name as well as them being able to meet the parents.

“They weren’t allowed inside at all last year, so for some of them, they haven’t been in the school for two years,” second-grade teacher Samantha Prahm said. “It’s fun to see parents again and be able to talk to them, get to know them. It’s good for them to know who their child is with all day long, and if they have any concerns, they can talk to us face-to-face.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.