BRISTOL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- As students returned to Bristol Borough schools Tuesday for the first time since March, there was a sense of excitement in the air.
Masked students returned to a new environment in which desks were separated, traffic patterns were marked in hallways and cleaning protocols more rigidly enforced.
A mother of six, Toni Feeney said her children needed the structure.
"This is a blessing for smaller kids, especially. They need that one on one classroom assignments," said Feeney.
More than two-thirds of district students are participating in the hybrid instruction model which includes splitting students into two groups, attending classes on different days and learning online the others.
Superintendent Dr. Rose Minniti said the district had been working on this return for months but recognized it all could all change if COVID-19 cases surface here.
Neumann Goretti Catholic High School in South Philadelphia and Council Rock North High School in Newtown Bucks County temporarily suspended in-class instruction after students tested positive.
Minniti said if there were cases in Bristol Borough she would coordinate the proper response with Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Health Department.
But as more districts return to class, there is a reason for optimism.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said Tuesday there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus is spreading in schools that have opened. That's good news for the city's school district as it plans to reintroduce in-class learning.
"The health department said we think (The School District of Philadelphia) can do it safely. We've advised them what protocols will be and we have examples of parochial schools that are open for in-person education are not being spread in the building," said Farley.
There have also been no incidents of spread within schools in Bucks County likely due to the strict protocols in place, said Damsker.
Bristol Borough School District students return to the classroom for in-person instruction
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