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Rochester Public Schools welcome most students back

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Many Rochester Public School students headed back to the classrooms Monday.

New sixth-grade students started at their respective middle schools Monday and grades seven and eight will start Tuesday. This is to allow the sixth-grade students time to experience their new school and have more one-on one time with teachers and other staff.

Most of the elementary schools are participating in a “Step into Learning,” which is a two-day event so students will be able to take their time, meet their teachers and get used to a new routine. It’s a way to help the students feel more comfortable with this new year of learning.

New RPS freshman were the only students to report to class Monday morning, the older students arrived after lunchtime.

Mayo High School staff and some upperclassmen welcomed new freshman with a “clap in” pep rally, featuring music, fun costumes and games. The new students received tours and attended classes with an abbreviated schedule.

Riverside Central Elementary School started Monday with all students except for kindergarteners. Riverside does not participate in the “Step into Learning” event.

“I would say we’re just excited to get our little one back in school,” Riverside parent Julio Molina said.

His daughter is starting second grade.

“You know, she likes to learn, she’s a great student,” he said. “The teachers make her feel very comfortable. So it’s just great to have her back in school.”

Riverside principal Matt Ruzek wanted to recognize the staff’s work.

“We want kids to have the youthful experience where they are experiencing adventure and exploration,” Ruzek said. “And still having the comfort to know that they are safe and welcome here. I am so proud of the staff.”

Masks are required while inside RPS buildings. The district released it’s Safe and Open Schools Plan last week.

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Megan Zemple

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