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Williamstown Elementary School opening adapts for COVID-19 concerns

WILLIAMSTOWN — As the brand new Williamstown Elementary School gears up to welcome students, Principal Heather Bretthaurer shared her excitement for the new building and what she hopes for the students’ upcoming year.

Although the school opening looked a lot different than originally planned, Bretthaurer said the staff were still able to connect with students and parents virtually to show them the new facility and share their excitement for the school year.

“I’m excited to bring the kids into the building but still with that sadness because I couldn’t open this building like we really wanted to. It’s bittersweet just because I’ll love having the kids in the building,” she said.

With the coronavirus pandemic, the plan to celebrate the new building had to be adapted to fit the situation.

“We have had to monitor and adjust all our thinking about how we were going to celebrate this building and how we were going to present this state of the art building to the community,” Bretthaurer said.

The school hosted three virtual tours and a procedural tour to show parents where their kids can be picked up and all other necessary information.

In order to make the students feel welcome and excited about their new school, Bretthaurer said the teachers worked hard all summer to make sure their classrooms are special and unique for the students to enjoy.

“The teachers have made this building absolutely home. Each classroom has an individual personality of the teacher. They have been working months and giving their own time making their rooms look the way they do,” Bretthaurer said.

Although the students won’t be able to gather in common areas, Bretthaurer said the gym and library is big enough for them to see and experience.

“The kids want to see the library and the gym most of all. We have enough space in both areas that they can have a library in the library and they can go to the gym with social distance in all those areas. They’ll be able to see a majority of the school,” she said.

The gym and the library are Bretthaurer’s two favorite spots in the new school.

“I love my gym. I am a sports person, the gym is probably my favorite. I was very particular about what I wanted there. Second would be the library. We have a knowledge tree in the library and it’s just beautiful,” she said.

Another part she loves about the new school is the playground which would not have been possible without the help of Suzy Schofield, Randy Dick and Tom Fenton.

“(They) were instrumental in writing grants and helping to acquire the first $100,000 and finished it off. Those three people are the reason our playground is up and going,” Bretthaurer said.

In terms of goals for the year, Bretthaurer hopes they can get to the green level so all students can be back together in the classroom and learning together.

“I hope that after the three initial weeks of yellow that we go green so that all students can be back together. I am a huge supporter of brick and mortar (with) teacher interaction. What my teachers can offer these kids is invaluable, they are the best in the county,” she said.

Contact Candice Black at cblack@newsandsentinel.com

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