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OPS elemetary students have their first day back in school

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 4:28 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s the day parents have been waiting for all summer long, OPS students are heading back to the classroom.

As parents and children arrived at Hartman Elementary School, you can hear the excitement all around.

“It’s hard to tell if the kids are more excited or the staff. The energy level is just electrifying I think when you walk down those halls,” said Shelly Burghardt, Hartman Elementary Principal.

On the administrative side, Superintendent Dr. Sheryl Logan was thrilled the buses seemed to be running seamlessly despite the driver shortage and promise of consolidated routes and delays.

”It’s the Superbowl every year for transportation on the first week of school and we’ll be able to kind of update once we kind of see things roll out. It’s a big concern for us because we know our parents and young people depend on us and we’ll move forward from there,” said Dr. Logan.

When kids entered the building, they all had their backpacks on, masks secured and hands disinfected.

“We had students entering at various doors based on their grade level. When they come into the building, we have arrows down on the hallway floor that direct them to all go in one-way traffic,” said Burghardt.

Principal Shelly Burghardt says the students are handling the masking well and parents, so far, are understanding the need.

“We help kids understand why we have that rule of wearing masks and why we have all rules. It’s to help our kids stay safe and so our building can is a place where learning can happen,” said Burghardt.

Both Dr. Logan and Burghardt say a big focus this school year is social and emotional health as well as keeping kids in school and learning in person safely.

“Our hope is that we can create an environment inside these walls that’s going to be a place they can let their guard down and just enjoy learning and being connected again,” said Burghardt.

“We are hopeful that with some of the precautions that we have put in place and some of the layered protocols with the advice of our health professionals will keep us in schools. That’s our expectation, that’s where we want to be and we’re looking forward to seeing how things go,” said Dr. Logan.

Dr. Logan says the decision of mandating the COVID vaccine for teachers and staff ultimately will come from the Nebraska Board of Education.

Today was the first day back for elementary students, middle and high school students head back throughout the week.

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