(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) For the first time in over a year, students and teachers in the St. Joseph School District are returning to a "normal" classroom with the start of summer school.
Beginning Wednesday, summer school is back in the SJSD after taking a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it looks different than this past school year.
The district has relaxed its safety procedures for the summer. Masks are optional for students and staff and social distancing is no longer enforced, allowing for more collaborative group/partner work.
SJSD's new Director of Elementary Education said this summer will be experimental in what happens in future semesters.
“There are things that we changed this year that we don't necessarily want to go back to and summer school is going to allow us to try it out and see how things go,” said Bethany Clark, SJSD Director of Elementary Education.
Last school year was a tough one for students, but teachers at Parkway Elementary said they saw their kids rise above in resiliency.
“I was actually really surprised at how well my kids did. They really adapted amazingly with masks and everything. They really caught up to where they needed to be and I was very impressed by them,” said Kellie Adkins, 1st grade teacher at Parkway Elementary.
Now with summer here, students are ready to have some fun and leave the burnout behind them.
Soon-to-be second grader, Dodger, has enrolled in summer school three times. He said he's looking forward to making new friends and playing games.
“We’re doing spies. A spy is a person who is very well-trained like a ninja,” said Dodger, summer school student.
No matter the curriculum or hands-on activity, teachers and students said they're just happy to be back together again.
Adkins said, “This has been great to feel like it’s back to the regular classroom."
Summer school runs June 2nd through July 1st. There is also a virtual option for K-8. Summer school at the high school level will take place virtually.
Administrators said parents can still enroll students up until next week. For more information and to enroll in the program, click here.