KIPP students lead the way back into the classroom

Krystine Burton with her son Joelle Burton on hthe first day back at school at KIPP Academy Middle School.
Photos Jewel Webber

At roughly 7:30 a.m., on Monday, Aug. 9, KIPP Academy Middle School students started their first day back at school in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic and the excitement on their faces was palpable. The school was one of the first in NYC to start off the new school year in the classroom.

In total, thousands of students from eight KIPP charter schools across New York City began the new  year on Monday as part of phased first day of school approach.

Joelle Burton, a student at KIPP, which is located at 250 E. 156St., said he felt “good” about going back to school while, that he wasn’t scared and was expected the experience to be great.

With some students, there was a sense of normalcy to see the staff members, teachers, security personnel, kids’ parents and friends. Students who hadn’t seen each other in quite awhile laughed and gave each other fist bumps, while maintaining social distancing. There was a sense of excitement on their faces.

Other students were taking everything in and going with the flow. Principal Tristan Fields spoke about some kids being nervous about their first day back to school. The nervousness was just like any first day of school, added with the uncertainty of the COVID protocols that we are having, he said.

KIPP Students on Aug. 9, 2021, return to the classroom for the first time since the onset of COVID-19.

“Our kids are a lot more resilient and tougher than we think,” he said. “And they are able to adapt.”

Everything was done in a fitting and organized way. From the outset of the morning, students were lined up by grade, given temperature checks and used hand sanitizers before entering the building, while parents reviewed a health screening questionnaire.

-Jewel Webber