It’s back-to-school for students - but not the return to classes that families are used to. This week students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District stepped back inside school buildings for the first time in nearly six months. It was orientation week at all Anoka-Hennepin schools, including Coon Rapids High School where students and families had the chance to pick up computers, textbooks and other materials that can be used in the classroom and at home this fall.
Students signed up for a time slot and were led on a designated path through the building. Along the way they could purchase school gear, pose for school pictures, check out Chromebooks and pick up any other learning supplies needed for the first few weeks of school. Behind the scenes, staff and student leaders are working hard to reinvent back-to-school traditions. The student council is planning virtual pep fest activities and socially-distanced homecoming competitions. Junior and senior student leaders that are part of Link Crew will lead freshman orientation activities in Google meetings with small groups of incoming students. While student connections, classroom learning and extra curricular activities will all require new methods this school year, the team at Coon Rapids says it will change and adapt.
"It’s a mixture of emotions," said Coon Rapids High School Principal Annette Ziegler, "because you’re excited to have your kids come back to school - because we miss them and its really weird to be in a school building this large without students and staff - but at the same time, you want to make sure they’re safe."
Middle and high school students in the Anoka-Hennepin district will begin live classes online starting on Tuesday, September 15, while elementary students are starting out in the hybrid model with a mix of in-person and distance classes. Then two weeks later, both middle and high schools are scheduled to shift to the hybrid learning model as well.