Camden schools return to in-person learning, but not all parents are on board

The city of Camden is bringing students back to school for the first time in over a year. But not all families are ready to send their children back into the classroom.
The halls of H.B. Wilson School have sat silent for the last 13 months. But on Monday those empty classrooms were filled with laughter. The school reopened for hybrid in-person learning for grades K-2 and special education students.
“They did really, really well. But it’s nothing like being here in the building and actually learning in person. Nothing replaces having a teacher right there with students,” says Principal Nicole Harrigan. “I’m just so happy that we’re finally back here together.”
While all parents were invited to send their students back for in-person learning, the principal says that just under 10% of students returned. She says that she is hoping that this number grows over the next few weeks.
“We just want to encourage the parents that have faith and understand that we are doing everything we can to make sure the students are safe,” Harrigan says. “The desks have been sanitized, the rooms have been thoroughly cleaned. We have sanitizer, face masks, all the materials that they need to stay safe and stay sanitized.”
While being back in the building is an adjustment for many students with the new rules to follow, the teachers say that the kids have adapted.
“It helped that they have been wearing masks already. Going to the grocery store, going places with mom and dad, so they have been wearing masks,” says second grade teacher Arenda Ingram. “Watching them now, they are really keeping their masks on and keeping their nose covered. It’s awesome.”
School officials say that they are getting ready to send out a survey for grades 3-8 to gauge interest from families on if they are ready to return to the classroom as well.