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Scenes from North Marion School District as students return to classes following the extended layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic

COURTESY PHOTO,TAMI BADINGER - First Day: Three Middle School students (Leslie Aguilar Martinez, Leslie Aguilar Martinez, Daneika Hobin, and Emily Emma Rodriguez Rojas, and Emily Emma Rodriguez Rojas) enjoy a fun moment with Kara Handran (right), who teaches seventh-grade math. The entire North Marion School District returned to in-person classes on Sept. 8. Well, almost all of it. Kindergartners were scheduled to begin classes at the district's primary school the following week.

During the first week of students return, North Marion Middle School Principal David Sheldon called the day, overall, a terrific success.

"Kids were in the building," Sheldon said. "Teachers were out in droves helping guide our students. Lots of evidence of care and connection were visible." COURTESY PHOTO, JILLIAN DALEY - First Day: Tyrus Wells walks home with second-grader Reagan Wells and kindergartner Grady Wells on Sept. 9, the day after most North Marion students had returned to in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. But it still hadnt been the first day for Grady, as kindergartners begin at the Primary School on Sept. 14 next week.

Students were already excited to be on-site rather than learning remotely.

Middle School teacher Kelly McGuffie asked her eighth-grade students to write on sticky notes exactly what they were looking forward to this school year, and one student said: "I'm looking forward to being in school rather than at home. I think it will be easier."

Another of McGuffie's eighth-grader's wrote: "I'm looking forward to live concerts from the choir."

Another sticky note read: "I'm looking forward to hanging out with friends."COURTESY PHOTO, KELLY MCGUFFIE - First Day: Middle School teacher Kelly McGuffies eighth-grade students respond to the question: What are you looking forward to this school year? One student said: Im looking forward to being in school rather than at home. I think it will be easier.

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