Newark principal talks first day back in school, safety measures in place

Reopening Schools

NEWARK, N.J. — Class is back in session for the first time in over a year for students in Newark, New Jersey’s largest school district. 

There are about 35,000 students returning to 66 schools.

PIX11 News checked in with the principal of one of those schools, Rosa Branco of the First Avenue School, about their successful first day back. 

Branco said everyone was very prepared and students “looked so happy.” 

Prior to children returning to schools, parents had to complete a questionnaire purchased by the district and screen their child’s health. Temperatures were also taken before entering the building. 

Students also needed to sanitize their hands before heading to breakfast. 

Students were also given their own bathroom passes, and there is a two-person capacity in school restrooms. 

Despite federal guidelines allowing desks to be three feet apart, First Avenue School is continuing with six feet apart distance. 

The school has installed ventilation systems and windows are available for teachers to open if they need to.

Testing at Newark schools is conducted every week. If the school reports a confirmed COVID-19 case, the classroom will be shut down for 48 hours. Students in that classroom will quarantine for 10 days and can return once quarantine is over.

The school also built in some mask and interaction breaks. The institution has a large playground, so students will have allotted time to remove their masks while at a safe distance from others. They will also have students eating snacks and breakfast in classrooms and allow for safe interactions. 

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