Wilkes-Barre area students head back to the classroom

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Monday, some students in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District will be heading back into classrooms.

Kindergarden through sixth grade, to be exact.

Eyewitness News reached out to superintendent Dr. Brian Costello and did not receive a comment as the last couple of days have been filled with last-minute logistic planning.

As educators head back into the classroom, Michael Komorek, President of the Wilkes-Barre Area Education Association offered this comment.

“I think every teacher is looking forward to a safe return to in-person instruction as soon as possible, but we are disheartened by the department of health’s inability to provide access to vaccinations for every educator, as well as all essential workers who wish to be vaccinated.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has now wrought havoc on the education system for just days short of a year and it will continue.

This is all as the district is still in the works building a new high school in neighboring Plains Township and recently sold Coughlin High School.

Many districts, including Wilkes-Barre Area, have been planning for months on how to safely get students and teachers back into classrooms.

We heard from some parents from the region like Chelsea Naple and Thaddeus Smyda who are looking forward to getting their children back in the same room as their teachers.

“I understand everything that’s going on. There’s a big responsibility for us to socially distance but I want them to kind of be back to some form of normalcy. As long as we’re following her to not tell anybody,” Naple said.

“As long as we’re following proper guidelines, and are the numbers, COVID numbers are down. We’re looking forward to sending kids back to school,” Smyda said.

Later today we’ll be checking in with Wilkes-Barre Area School District parents and educators on how they feel coming back to classes almost a year after the initial closing back on March 13th.

Other notable in-person returns in nearby Wyoming Valley districts include:

  • Hanover area is welcoming back in a tiered approach today through March 22nd.
  • Greater Nanticoke area is looking at March 8th.
  • Pittston Area will bring in elementary students starting March 15th
  • Wyoming Area has a survey for families out to be returned Monday as they are still in the planning phase.

Here in Wilkes-Barre Area, K-6 returns for Wilkes-Barre today while 7-12 will have to wait another week with recent county COVID case numbers.

Editor’s Note: Beginning Wednesday, March 10, Wyoming Valley West will begin to allow in-person instruction for students in Hybrids A and B to attend school on Wednesday. This will be implemented on a rotating basis for K – 12.

Eyewitness News reported earlier today that this would be a notable in-person reopening when it will be in fact the addition of an in-person day for students already in a hybrid learning model.

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