UPPER DARBY, Pa. - Students in the Upper Darby School District headed back to the classroom Monday with safety precautions in place.
Hundreds of front-facing desks between the cafeteria and in a back gym at Beverly Hills Middle School were ready for students. FOX 29 got a sneak peek at what lunch looks like in a school trying to navigate roughly 1,350 students back full-time during a pandemic.
It's the first time all Upper Darby School District students can come back for in-person learning since March 13, 2020.
Last year, students came back in cohorts, which meant only a couple of kids in a classroom at a time.
The district says they are ready but still navigating spacing issues and staffing shortages in several departments.
"It’s kind of like survival of the fittest the hunger games. Everybody in education is rushing out there to find teachers, substitute teachers, crossing guards, bus drivers, and we're just continuing to preach patience. I know it’s easier said than done," Upper Darby School District Superintendent Dr. Daniel McGarry said.
"I just want her to be safe at home, especially the youngest one she don’t like to keep her mask on," parent Marie Antoine said.
Antoine is choosing to keep her girls home for now along with roughly 200 other students at Beverly Hills Middle School.
The district is offering synchronous and asynchronous learning from home.
Principal Brian Ursone says it’s important but also an added challenge for scheduling and especially teachers.
"We have to navigate that with our teaching staff to make sure that they can do it that we have the resources in our building that they can do it," he said.