Local schools welcome back students for first day

The morning of Wednesday, Sept. 8 served as a momentous day in Keizer as K-12 students made their way to their first day of full, in-person school in 18 months — with a multitude of students stepping on their school’s campus for the first time.

Despite their being numerous COVID-19 protocols at each school — such as a mask requirement for all who enter the school and vaccination requirements for staff — school personnel are thrilled to be back on campus. 

“I am so fired up for today. I couldn’t sleep last night I was so excited about a sense of normalcy,” McNary Principal Erik Jespersen said. “We still have a pandemic that we are working through, but to have kids here five days a week, to be fully engaged in their learning and having school back to somewhat normal is amazing. I am so excited. This is probably the most excited I have been in 24 years of education.” 

“It feels great to see kids walking into the classroom. For many of our kids this is their first time. This is just one sign of us being back on track,” Assistant Superintendent Iton Udosenata added. “After months of planning, I’m just excited that the day has finally arrived.”

Photos by Matt Rawlings, Joey Cappelletti and Brooklyn Flint