'There's definitely a buzz in the building': Newington students return to class without masks, one-way hallways

Published on Thursday, 25 August 2022 14:52
Written by Erica Drzewiecki


NEWINGTON – Students and faculty described what felt like “a new energy” on the first day of school Thursday.

“There were a lot of hugs and screams,” Newington High School Principal Terra Tigno said of students reuniting with their friends and teachers, along with staff seeing their colleagues after a long summer.

“We are fully staffed and thrilled to open our doors to 1,300-plus students,” Tigno added. “We’re excited to dive deep into learning.”

The school community enjoyed a warm welcome from the Student Council – or “Stuco” as it is fondly known here – Thursday morning.

First and foremost, as kids got off the bus or out of their cars in the student parking lot they caught a glimpse of a giant banner welcoming the Nor’Easters, the school’s new mascot.

Masks are optional this year and there will be no hybrid or remote learning for the foreseeable future, which came as a relief for many.

Sitting in their first study hall of the year in the cafeteria were juniors Olivia Boutilier, Angelina Ruiz and Megan Paradis.

“It’s alright,” Boutilier said of her first day back.

“It’s like, slow and fast at the same time,” Ruiz said.

“A little nerve-racking,” Paradis added.

The trio said they were most looking forward to football games and seeing their friends this year.

Across the café sat sophomore Julian Ross chatting with his friends.

“It’s going pretty good, just a bit nervous,” Ross reported of his first day. “It’s kind of awkward in classes; there’s a lot of new people.”

Meanwhile inside Martin Kellogg Middle School, business was also off to a good start.

“Leading up to today our custodial and maintenance staff did a fantastic job preparing the building,” MKMS Principal Jason Lambert said. “It’s been a good start to the day. A lot of energy in the building; a lot of optimism. Kids are excited to be back in school seeing their friends, getting back to their routines.”

Teachers were also happy to have students filling their classrooms, ready to learn.

There are no one-way hallways or mask breaks. Sanitizing stations are still present and probably always will be.

“It has the semblance of a regular year,” Principal Lambert pointed out. “There’s definitely a buzz in the building and a strong energy in the community.”

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at edrzewiecki@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Newington on Thursday, 25 August 2022 14:52. Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2022 14:55.