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Whitely Elementary starts the year full of hope

Back to School (FILE)
Posted at 10:17 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 01:35:19-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — After over a year away from school, it’s officially time for more students to come back to the classroom.

More than 800 elementary school students had their first day at Whitleyon Wednesday. There was excitement, nervousness, some tears, and all masked as they kicked off the new year.

“It doesn’t matter how many years you do this, you still have butterflies,” said Lisa Beasley, principal of Whitley.

School buses unloading kids, cars dropping off students, families walking to the gate together, and posters on the walls. This back-to-school scene could have been like any other year’s.

“The kids are so excited to be with their friends, they’re so excited to be with their teachers and just to be at school,” said Beasley.

But this year was different because kids were not just coming back after a summer break but after 18-months of a pandemic that isn’t over yet.

“It was like we opened the doors again after a long time. It was great to see all the smiling faces,” said Beasley.

One family said they are excited for kids to get to socialize again and make up for what they missed out on this past year.

“I’m super excited for the kids to be back in the classroom experiencing new things, getting social, meeting new kids, just experiencing the classroom setting,” said Tara James, a parent.

Students must keep their masks on during the day and their lunches are spread out to maximize distancing.

“It makes me nervous that they have to wear a mask all day long, but I mean, if that makes them safe and if it helps, we are willing to do it,” said Tara James.

Michael and Alexis Contreras said their kids in kindergarten, third and first grades were so excited for their first day that they were looking forward to bedtime and, they are thrilled to have their kids back in the classroom.

“It was super peaceful at home for us we’ll see how they felt. They were super excited to take off this morning, so it made us happy. Yeah, I think the past year, being stuck with us at home has really made them like, “we’re leaving!!” said the Contreras parents.

Beasley looks ahead to the year with the same optimism as she does on day one.

“And it really feels good to know that our community trusts us to do this and, that’s a really great feeling. It’s a big responsibility, but we are ready to take it on,” said Beasley.