Concord High School students returned to classrooms on Aug. 12, for the first time since the pandemic closure.

According to Principal Rianne Pfaltzgraff, the school has a total of 1,200 students, out of whom 600 were freshmen and sophomores entering the campus for the first time.

Concord High School Principal Rianne Pfaltzgraff talks to a staff member on the first day of classes. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News)

“It feels amazing; my soul feels full,” Pfaltzgraff said on Thursday. “Last year was hard. We didn’t get to do our real jobs, and our real job is interacting with the kids.”

Senior Katy Ruiz, who was returning to the campus after March 2020, said, “It feels weird because we haven’t been here in such a long time, and I haven’t seen most of these people.”

Ruiz shared that she was concerned about the Delta variant and COVID-19 cases rising again and added, “I don’t want the classes to go back online. It was a bit of a struggle for a lot of people, including myself.”

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Transitioning back to in-person learning amid safety restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines is the primary task. But the teachers are also tasked with bringing the students back up to where they were before — emotionally and socially.

The school currently does not ask the students for proof of vaccination but requires that everyone on campus stay masked at all times

Concord High math teacher Jose Soltero teaches on the first day back on campus. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News)

“What is a teacher’s role now? Are we going to teach them the subject that we are trained to do, or are we going to be their counselors?”, math teacher and soccer coach Jose Soltero asked. Soltero has been a teacher at Concord High School for 16 years, and while he is excited to be able to teach in person, he hopes for the same from his students after spending more than a year learning in their rooms.

“Education is important right now, but their well-being, mentally and physically, also comes with it,” Soltero added.