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Syracuse School District Opens Schools, Begins First Day of Hybrid Learning

Brianna Langlois

Two weeks after school started virtually, the Syracuse City School District welcomed students back today for the first day of hybrid learning. Students whose families elected for a hybrid model of instruction are split into learning pods two days a week.

Dr. Week’s Elementary Principal Diane Vitello says teachers and staff are excited to have students back to school in person. 

“We want them to come into the building to see familiar faces who love them up each day, give them the skills that they’ll need and make them feel really safe.” 

Credit Brianna Langlois
Dr. Week’s Elementary Principal Diane Vitello

One way to make students and their families feel safe is by installing two new air filtration systems in every classroom. Superintendent Jaime Alicea says the district spent just shy of $1 million on the upgrades.

“They are going to help with the filtration system again. I will say all of the building has no problem because we have changed the filters in all the building, but this is an extra step.”

Credit Brianna Langlois

Fifth-grader Nathaniel Taylor says he’s excited to be back to school, even though it’s not quite like normal as he sat at his desk looking through a shield. 

“It’s kind of weird, but I’ll get used to it.”

One of the biggest challenges, according to Principal Vitello, is making sure the families are informed and comfortable. 

“[We are] making sure every family knows the plan and feels as though they are as informed as possible so that they feel safe sending their children to us.”

Credit Brianna Langlois

Vitello says teachers in the classroom are not live streaming to students at home learning virtually on their supplied laptops. Instead, other teachers handle virtual classes, so each group of students have the teacher’s undivided attention. Although the building is relatively quieter now, Vitello looks forward to the day when all students can return to school at the same time. 

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.