WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The first bell of the school year rang this morning for Wichita Falls Independent School District students and school leaders said while there is some anxiety because of the unknowns going into this year, they are ready to get back in the classrooms.
Mask mandates are out for schools except those defying the state order. Some parents said while they are concerned there is not much they can do about it.
Masks are not required but WFISD Superintendent Mike Kuhrt said he is encouraging students and staff to wear them.
Adam Byrd and Anastasia Green said it is a bittersweet feeling sending their kids back to school Thursday morning.
Not only are they excited but they are anxious as they embark on what will be yet another uncertain school year.
Byrd said he has a plan.
“Being present and aware and try to ensure that there is clear communication with the kiddos that they know and are aware of any of the troubles that they could face,” Byrd said.
Unlike the last school year, WFISD is back to full in-person learning.
Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths said their hope is to get back to the fundamentals of teaching and re-developing students’ social and emotional skills.
“We did a lot of training about capturing kids’ hearts about re-engaging our students, meeting them in the morning, talking about how they feel because we have to capture the student’s hearts before we can actually start learning,” Griffiths said.
Green said she is happy her kids are back in school where they will be able to interact with friends and teachers.
“I just like to put them in that situation where they can meet new people and learn how to interact with all different types of kids,” Green said.
But how are parents feeling about the lack of mask requirements in the classroom?
Green said she left the decision up to her three kids.
“I told my kids they could wear a mask if they want to if they feel comfortable so they brought a mask with them, so in any situation, they feel they want to put their mask on they can do so as they choose,” Green said.
Byrd’s advice to hesitant parents is to put the school year in God’s hands.
Both he and Green said they are ready to tackle this year alongside their kids.
Kuhrt said he is looking forward to sharing the events and memories students will have this year such as the first day of school is one, but also, class parties and field trips and everything schools have always had.