On Friday morning, about 100 students flowed out of cars and buses at Frank Porter Graham Elementary School to finish out their first week of in-person instruction in a year.
Teachers greeted car and bus riders with daily temperature checks before directing them to their classrooms.
“The only thing that I miss is hugging them,” Eimy Rivas Plata, an exceptional children’s teacher, said as she greeted students in the car lane.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education voted in early March to offer in-person instruction to all students beginning March 22.
The last week before spring break, March 22 through 26, was intended to be an "acclimation" period in which parents who chose in-person learning had the option to send their children to school while students and staff adjusted to the new procedures.
The district’s plan divided most students into two cohorts that attend school on either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday.
After returning from spring break on April 5, all elementary school students can attend school four days per week, with Wednesday being a flex day. Most middle and high school students will remain under the cohort system of in-person instruction twice a week.
However, some middle and high school students are also eligible to return four days per week if they have Individualized Education or 504 plans, participate in the Exceptional Children Adapted Curriculum or are English learners in the district's Newcomer Program.
Connor Lopez, a senior at Chapel Hill High School, said he decided to return after remote learning began to feel monotonous, and he wanted to see his teachers and friends.