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'I look forward to being back with them' | GCS 6th and 9th graders return to school

Monday, February 22, Guilford County Schools sixth and ninth-graders head back to the classroom for the first time in nearly a year.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — More Triad students return to the classroom for in-person learning on Monday.

Many Guilford County campuses have been ghost towns for the past year due to the pandemic, but now 6th and 9th graders will join others in going back to school.

Erik Naglee, Page High School Principal, said he believes the last time he had all students in the school was March 13, 2020.

"Something that obviously, in the world of education, we've never really prepared for or had to face," Naglee said.

His priority when schools shut down was to make sure students were getting the education they needed, had access to technology, and were fed.

It's been a difficult year, but he applauds the teachers for their strength and resilience.

"Our teachers have done an incredible job during this entire time, working very, very hard. I couldn't imagine them working any harder, but they have during this time. We all know despite all of those heroic efforts, the in-person learning is so important," Naglee said.

On Monday, that in-person learning will resume for the freshmen. It will be their first day on a high school campus. 

Naglee said they've had virtual meetings with the 9th graders' parents to make sure the first day back goes smoothly.

The staff has also worked on keeping the Pirate spirit alive by thinking of ways to recreate school traditions and first-day activities.

"When our students get back in the classroom, that's going to be really key. Relationships are so key that we focus on and they'll see their teacher and be able to feel their passion and love and care for them and be able to move that instruction forward so that we're able to get them back on track and propel them moving forward so that they can be successful not only for the duration of this school year but also for the years ahead at Page," Naglee said.

Things will be different for students as they come back. Desks will be six feet apart and the teachers will stay at the front of the classroom. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, most are anxious to get back to a somewhat normal school career.

"I think that this has really put everything into perspective for both student and staff of how much we love what we do and how much they do love coming to school each and every day," Naglee said.