501 students are back in school hopeful for less COVID stress

Live at Five
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 6:01 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Students with USD 501, Topeka Public Schools, returned to class Wednesday, August 10, with few COVID protocols in place.

Staff at McCarter Elementary greeted students at the front door with balloons and cheers to start the new school year on a positive note.

The past two years brought many challenges, such as coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, so families and educators hope the dust has settled.

“We stayed home a whole year during the pandemic, so coming back to school, they did last year, but I just hoping that all the craziness is done, and they can enjoy being 2nd and 4th graders,” replied mother of two Jessa Stauffer.

Katherine Cooney, the principal of McCarter Elementary School, says that everyone learned so much from the past and believes they are prepared.

“I don’t know how it is going to go with the pandemic, and things like that, but we have learned so much along the way that I know we can handle it,” replied Cooney. “So, whatever comes our way we are prepared and ready.”

One of the many educators who welcomed students included USD 501 superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Anderson. She performed crossing guard duty outside a couple of schools to personally meet and interact with some new students and families. Anderson said the first day of school is very special especially this year.

“I am meeting some parents who have some kids in kindergarten for the first time, and they are a little nervous, so welcoming them in,” said Dr. Anderson. ”And here’s the thing three years ago we couldn’t do this, isn’t that amazing, and so I just want to say to all of our parents welcome back, all of our students welcome back. We are ready to roll in Topeka Public Schools and excited to be back.”

Anderson also spent time at McClure Elementary and Topeka High as well.

All 501 kindergarten through 6th grade, and 9th grade students started school on Wednesday, along with Hope Street Academy, Capitol City School, and the Avondale Virtual School. The rest return to school Thursday, August 11.

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