New Canaan Schools Greet Students, Get Back In Routine

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Teachers at New Canaan Public Schools get their students back in a normal routine on Monday, the first day since a school shooting incident an elementary school shooting in Newtown.
Teachers at New Canaan Public Schools get their students back in a normal routine on Monday, the first day since a school shooting incident an elementary school shooting in Newtown. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason, file

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The staff at New Canaan Public Schools tried to make Monday as normal as possible for students just days after the tragic fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

East School Principal Alexandra Potts and others on her staff greeted parents and students when they arrived for the start of school Monday, showing friendly faces as the students returned after an emotional weekend. Selectman Nick Williams was with the teachers to welcome arriving children.

“The mood here was very good,” Potts said. “The children (were) very happy to be back in the routine.” Teachers wanted to present students with a “positive and supportive environment” after the tragedy in Newtown, New Canaan Schools Superintendent Mary Kolek said.

The violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School was not mentioned by the East School staff given the ages of their students, Potts said. But the loss of students and fellow teachers was felt by the East teachers. “It hits everything they are passionate about. Many of (the staff) have friends and relatives in Newtown and the surrounding towns, so it’s hard for them.”

New Canaan police stationed officers at every school Monday, Sgt. Carol Ogrinc said, as well as an extra officer at New Canaan High School. Officer Jason Kim is assigned there daily as the school resource officer.

All visitors to New Canaan Public Schools are required to sign in upon entry. School staff monitored the sign-in desks Monday, Kolek said, instead of the usual parent volunteers. Visitors to the three elementary schools and Saxe Middle School must be let into the buildings by main office staff.

“We think it’s important to have (visitors) greeted by the professionals in the buildings,” Kolek said. “We want people to know that we have security procedures in place and we practice them.”

Kolek, who attended a crisis management advisory board meeting Monday, said the district is reviewing existing security measures. She plans to discuss security with parents at parent-teacher council meetings.

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