Eden Prairie students return to classroom for first time since start of pandemic

Students in Eden Prairie, Minnesota were back in the classroom on Wednesday for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March.

Of the roughly 8,600 students enrolled, about 80 percent chose the hybrid learning option, meaning in-person classes for two days a week.

Stepping off their socially-distanced school bus after their first day of second grade, the return to in-person classes went well for 7-year-old twins Luke and Landon. And that had their mother Katherine Holzbauer relieved.

"It was a difficult decision to try and decide whether to do in school or school at home," said Katherine Holzbauer.

With limits on who can be on campus, our crews weren’t allowed inside the school but students told us about plenty of changes.  From more hand sanitizing stations, desks spaced further apart, and lunch mostly in the classroom. In the parking lot, district officials noticed a little longer lines than normal with more parents dropping off their children instead of riding the bus. Plus, more time was needed for everyone entering to get a temperature check.

"You know we have the equipment we need, we have the supplies we need," explained Eden Prairie Schools spokesperson Brett Johnson. "We’ve given the teachers and staff the training and will continue to reiterate those points probably all day long. So we are ready."

Matthew Fandrey says at the middle school they've staggered times between classes and not using lockers went quite smooth and wasn’t congested in the hallways. "It was a little nerve-racking. But at the same time, it was exciting to see how everything would turn out. And what everything was going to look like.

And while masks all day, even at recess, is a new norm, kids are trying to get used to it. For all three of the Holzbauer boys, they are just excited to get this school year going.