BURLINGTON — After arriving Wednesday for her first day of school a few minutes before her classmates, Angelina Meza meticulously helped her teacher place lines on the floor 3 feet apart to encourage social distancing.

For Angelina, who spent her kindergarten year largely learning online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first day of in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year was exciting.

“I’m excited to learn,” the 7-year-old said. “I’m gonna have my classmates, and my mom said I’ll make a lot of new friends.”

While she said she wishes COVID-19 would go away, Angelina said she is excited to be on the West View Elementary School campus, where she can do art projects.

This year, as part of the Burlington-Edison School District’s academic and student well-being recovery plan, Angelina and her schoolmates in kindergarten, first and second grades will have an extra hour of school each day, Superintendent Laurel Browning said.

“That will give kids more contact with their teachers,” Browning said. “We’re growing forward.”

Like other schools throughout Skagit County, the district has COVID-19 safety precautions in place, including requiring distance between students, increased cleaning practices and hand sanitizer strategically placed throughout its buildings.

“We are so excited our students are back,” Browning said. “Our priority is to keep our students and staff healthy so we can continue to be in person.”

School in the Conway School District began Monday, while the Concrete, La Conner and Mount Vernon school districts also started Wednesday. The Anacortes and Sedro-Woolley school districts start school next week.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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