Classes are already in session for Norfolk Public Schools.
"Staff and students seem to be a little more relaxed and a little more excited than the last couple of years when we were faced with COVID restrictions and just the unknownst angst of the pandemic."
Superintendent, Dr. Jami Jo Thompson says students and staff were eager to get back into the classroom this school year in Norfolk.
"(It's) a really good feeling getting back into the buildings and seeing kids this year." While there are a few post-COVID-19 changes still implemented, it's back to normal for Norfolk Public Schools.
"There are some things that we have continued such as the increased cleaning and sanitation, changing of our air filters, those types of things," Dr. Thompson said. "But overall, we're trying to keep our programming and our instruction pretty consistent because there's been a lot of changes in children's lives the last couple of years and we found that consistency is really important right now."
One big change that is sticking around is the importance of mental health, with licensed mental health professionals available to staff and students throughout the district.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw that our counselors were overwhelmed and that's why we added those licensed mental health practitioners that can take on those more advanced or difficult cases," said Dr. Thompson.
Much like the rest of the nation, hiring has been a challenge. Norfolk had one open teaching position they weren't able to fill before the year started, a high school English position which the district merged into other classes for this semester.
"We have a little bit larger class sizes, which isn't ideal, but they're still manageable," said Dr. Thompson. The district hopes to hire for that position for next semester. Another change this year is we also just this year started paying our student teachers a stipend for their work in our classrooms to help with that recruitment."
With a new addition at the Lincoln Montessori Elementary building and other updates throughout the district, Dr. Thompson says this new school year is setting up to be a great one in Norfolk.
"I'm just excited that kids seem to be very happy to be here. Teachers seem to be happy to be here. You know, getting out and just visiting with the kids."
Classes began last week for Norfolk Public Schools.
SEE THE VIDEO
Web articles from my time at Siouxland News.