NIAGARA FALL, N.Y (WKBW) — Friday was orientation day at Abate Elementary in Niagara Falls, and several soon-to-be kindergarteners were with their parents or guardians to find out what school is going to look like this year.
Parents listened and took notes. We chatted with four-year-old Alexis Russell and her grandmother who attended the orientation
"We have been socially distancing and wearing masks and hand sanitizing since this began it was kind of scary to think about putting them in school but I think the school has done an excellent job, I really do," said Kathleen Russell.
"I think I'm happy!" said Alexis.
The school has been working over the summer to plan a safe return school.
"We were able to explain to them the nuances of the hybrid model of instruction," said Lynne Tompkins, Abate Elementary School Principal. "And I think that once they came into the building and they've seen the measure that we put into place, and then we explain what the hybrid model is actually like, that they're feeling very comfortable."
Tompkins said there is an entire staff dedicated to deep cleaning and sanitizing rooms and lunch areas.
The hybrid model means kids will be learning from home for some days – perhaps an even bigger challenge for kindergarteners not used to having to stay on task. But with support, Russell said it's going to be okay.
"They each have their own computer to learn on, and they will be doing their school work with their mother and father watching them do it. And grandma's always available too so," she said. "She's been waiting for this for the last year she's been 'I want to go to school, I want to go to school!' because she's just excited, she's just absolutely ecstatic to be here."
School starts September eighth in the Falls, and Alexis knows what she’s most excited about: "[Making] new friends, and having fun!"
The school will have a total of 25 of these orientations to help explain the hybrid model plant to parents.