ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Albany High School is bringing students back to the classroom with a phased-in approach by level of need and grade. By the end of this week, all students who chose to return to school, will be back with their classmates on a normal nine period schedule.
Before entering the building, every student and staff member must be temperature checked and fill out a required “daily health screener.” Additionally, each student must have a QR code scanned before entering each classroom for possible contact tracing.
Erin Tobin, a mother to an Albany High Senior said she’s grateful to have her daughter, Sarah, back in school.
“She’s fully vaccinated, so we have an extra level of comfort with that,” Tobin said.
Although Sarah was able to go to school periodically for some extracurricular activities, April 19th was her first day back with her classmates for fully in-person learning.
”Just to even be able to make eye contact with somebody else. It’s something that you really don’t appreciate until you don’t have it anymore,” Tobin said.
Additionally, Many teachers are grateful to be instructing with students back at their desks.
“This is what we are most comfortable doing, teaching students in-person. This is the way we think of teaching in our profession,” Laura Franz, Albany High teacher and President of APSTA—Albany Public School Teacher Association.
Franz said although teachers are for the most part excited, there is still a bit of trepidation as they want to keep everyone safe with a high-level of commitment to enforcing safety measures.
“So, it’s different but it’s still really good to see the kids in-person,” Franz said.
Despite safety precautions, some parents like Kathryn Berger, with two teens at Albany High, chose to keep their students completely virtual.
“I don’t feel comfortable pushing them into a scenario that they’re not ready for,” Berger said. “We’ve been telling them all year long that things aren’t safe, that they need to continue to social distance, they need to do masks. Suddenly, at least to them, we are flipping a switch.”
Albany High English teacher Jim Grove said he’s prioritizing that transition for his students.
“As we shift to a more conventional schedule, it impacts how I plan and I roll out work,” Grove said. “I don’t want to be two weeks from now and exacerbate the problems again.”
Although there are only a few months left in the school year, Grove said this switch to in-person learning will only benefit students in the Fall as well.
“This is kind of like a dry run for that. So we can make some informed decisions about how we bring students back, even more students back, come the Fall.”