MONROE — Months of anticipation are over. Donning backpacks and masks, many students returned to in-class instruction for the first time in more than five months Monday.

The school district is employing a hybrid model, with some students attending Mondays and Tuesdays, another group Thursdays and Fridays. When not in school, lessons continue remotely.

The new in-class normal calls for academics mixed with a major dose of safety, with masks and social distancing required and plenty of hand washing to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

Overseeing the return was interim Superintendent Joseph Kobza, who began his day at Masuk High School before making stops at Monroe Elementary, then Fawn Hollow.

“Everyone is excited to get the kids back to school,” Kobza said about the teachers’ enthusiasm over seeing students for the first time since the pandemic overran the state.

“Our staff has been working tirelessly since (Aug. 24) to prepare,” Kobza said. “We will be opening up with early dismissals all week to help the students and teachers acclimate to all of the new norms.”

The first two weeks are four-day weeks, and the first four days are half days as well.

To access the district’s complete plan, visit https://sites.google.com/monroeps.net/mps-reopening/district-communication.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com