This year’s opening day of school was certainly like no other. Throughout the first week of school, we welcomed faculty and students and the Class of 2024. The excitement was palpable throughout the building as we have not been together for so long.

On Monday, August 31, the faculty came to school for an in-person professional development in anticipation of welcoming students for the upcoming school year, 2020-2021.

The day featured sessions on technology, teaching in the COVID era, and department meetings. Special attention was given to the importance of social-emotional wellbeing facilitated by the Counseling Department, which was a follow-up to Dr. Rona Novick’s informative seminar given via Zoom the previous week.

On September 1 and 2, with balloon arches, welcome signs, fanfare, and smiling faces underneath masks, HANC High School welcomed its juniors and seniors for their opening days on campus. The freshmen and sophomores were greeted with the same excitement on Thursday, September 3.

The day started with a heartfelt t’filah in the gym, followed by opening remarks by the principal, Rabbi Slomnicki, who spoke about resiliency and flexibility, which are both important attributes needed for this most unusual school year.

While enjoying individually served coffee and cookies, students then viewed a video produced by faculty, which gave an overview of the various health and safety precautions implemented for the school year. This included hallway directions, mask wearing, and the like. Students took to heart the message of keeping their friends and teachers safe.

Students were eager to get back into classrooms and learn with their favorite teachers in person. Following the new bell schedule, students were excited to take advantage of the beautiful weather and socialize with their friends outdoors while taking multiple mask-breaks during the day, which included an outdoor dining option for lunch. The day continued with regularly scheduled classes and grade orientations.

While the underclassmen attended in-person learning on Thursday and Friday, the upperclassmen continued their learning on Zoom.

Throughout the week, the atmosphere and camaraderie within the halls of HANC and on Zoom were spirited and beyond expectations. It’s good to be home!