September 13 was the first day of school year 2021–2022 for the NYC public schools. The first day of school of pre-pandemic years brought butterflies of expectation toward seeing old friends, making new friends, and learning new things. The NYC Department of Education (DOE) brought in-class learning back after COVID-19 safety protocols limited in-class learning in the last two school years. There are still COVID-19 safety protocols in place.
“It was so exciting to welcome students back in our classrooms last week, seeing the joy on their faces as they all could finally return to learn in-person with their teachers and classmates! This is a very special time, and we are doing everything possible to make sure everyone in our schools remains safe and healthy,” said Meisha Porter, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, in her September 20th “Message to Families”.
“I’m happy that the kids are back because they are not staring at screens anymore. They are also socializing more with other kids and they are able to exercise more,” said Mr. White, parent of a 2nd grader and 4th grader at Brooklyn Arbor.
Brooklyn Arbor 5th grader, Maison Duran said, “I am very happy to be back and around my friends. I enjoy school and really enjoy St. Nicks Alliance because of the fun activities we get to do, kickball is my favorite. I always ask my mom to pick me up late so that I can spend more time being in after school.”
Maison’s mother, Madalibel Duran said, “I am nervous and don’t feel 100% safe due to the pandemic, but as a working parent I am thankful to be able to have him in a school and program I feel comfortable with. I don’t have to worry about childcare because we have after school.”
Two parents who have children in after school at Sumner Community Center gave their perspectives.
A parent of a second grader said, “This is my child’s first year in public school. She was transferred from a charter school and so far I am seeing that she is happy both at school and at after school. However, the curriculum is easier and she is barely getting homework so when she gets home I make her read a lot. I do see that there is a lot of young staff so I do want to be more involved just to make sure all is well.”
“My child is doing a lot better in person. Remote school had her rushing to complete a task and I would have to tell her to slow down. When she comes to afterschool she gets to express herself. She really enjoys dance. I appreciate Sumner for being open on DOE holidays because I work on those days and I know they’re safe here,” said a parent of a fifth grader.
Older students aren’t immune from the joy of being back in class. A junior at East Williamsburg Scholars Academy said, “I feel happy to be back in person because I am not a remote learner. I am thankful to be back around my friends and a place I feel is my second home.” sSenior at East Williamsburg Scholars Academy. 2: “I am a little fearful still. I have not been around this many people in a long time but it feels nice to be inside the school community and see kind familiar faces”.
A senior at East Williamsburg Scholars Academy said, “I am a little fearful still. I have not been around this many people in a long time, but it feels nice to be inside the school community and see kind familiar faces.”
Debra Sue Lorenzen, director of St. Nicks Alliance’s Youth and Education, said, “St. Nicks Alliance’s dedicated staff are here to support children and youth to face the real challenges associated with reintegrating into schools across North Brooklyn.”