Nine Erie County school districts returned to the classroom with no COVID-19 restrictions for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

We spoke with some of those students returning to the classroom.

From what we heard on Aug. 30, teachers, students, and staff could not be happier to be back to school without any pandemic restrictions. They’re ready to get the year started.

Nine Erie County school districts are back in the classroom after two years of juggling the changing COVID-19 guidelines.

“I could see all the excitement and the teachers and the kids today as they got off the buses, it was wonderful. The CDC as you know relaxed their guidelines and it’s now all recommended and that’s what we’re recommending to our families,” said Dr. Ken Berlin, Superintendent of Wattsburg Area School District.

The Wattsburg Area School District is battling a bus driver shortage, but after heavy recruitment this summer, they are back to a full staff of drivers.

The principal of Harbor Creek Senior High School said that students are looking forward to things they might have once taken for granted.

“I think they’re excited to really celebrate their school year and celebrate their senior year because I don’t think before the pandemic anyone ever thought like we’ll never have a graduation, and so I think people don’t take things for granted as much as they used to anymore,” said Pamela Chodubski, Principal of Harbor Creek High School.

Teachers and students came back to Harborcreek with a new mindset following two difficult years.

“I think the summer is a nice time where people should rejuvenate their spirit and their bodies and rest, and so I feel like them coming back and being excited to see kids and having kids in front of them again without masks are a big plus,” said Chodubski.

As restrictions eased, more students at Wattsburg opted to return to the classroom from full time virtual learning.

“Last year we had quite a few, maybe 30 or 40. This year we’re down to just a handful. People are feeling comfortable now coming back to school and they prefer in person school,” said Dr. Berlin.

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The Fairview School District and the Corry Area School District have their first day of school on Aug. 31.