FRANCONIA — This year's start of school felt kind of like the movie “Groundhog Day,” Superintendent Frank Gallagher said at the Sept. 9 Souderton Area School Board Facilities Committee.
“We have finished the second day of the first day of school today,” he said.
The school year started the previous day, but with a hybrid schedule for the start of the year, some of the about 4,610 students signed on for in-school classes had their first day on Sept. 8 and the rest on Sept. 9. There are also about 1,620 students taking online classes. The students signed up for in-person classes are scheduled to be hybrid for the first three weeks, then go to full-time in-class learning beginning Sept. 29.
“It's going okay,” Gallagher told the board.
“The first day of school always presents challenges,” he said, “but I have to say I'm very proud of our principals and our entire staff, teaching and support staff and our administration.”
Gallagher said he had been to each of the district's 10 schools at least once since the start of classes and been to some both days.
“Things are going pretty well. The kids are great. They're following the rules. They love being back in school. They just love being back in school,” he said. “I was at the Indian Crest [Middle School] lunchroom today and I heard a girl say to her friend, 'I haven't laughed this much in six months.'”
The Souderton Area Online Academy, the district's online school, is up and running, he said.
“We did run into some issues with forgetting passwords so some students had to come back to reset their password and we're troubleshooting some issues,” Gallagher said.
“I have to say, we have a very gracious community,” he said, “and we're all practicing grace and I can't thank our community enough.”
Souderton Area is one of the few districts in the area offering a full-time in-class option during the start of this school year.
Earlier in the day, he had been on a call with other superintendents, Gallagher said.
“They're all very interested on how this is working 'cause they would like to be doing the same,” he said.
“We're gonna keep doing, keep going at it,” Gallagher told the board members. “I'll be back at all the buildings tomorrow and I'll keep giving you updates.”