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'Historic' day for GRPS as students are finally back in school



 In what school officials describe as the first signs of a return to normalcy, students at Grand Rapids Public Schools are back inside the buildings for the first time since March-- at least partially. Students are being placed into two groups for the time being. On Monday and Tuesday, half of the student population in-school, while the other half will attend on Thursday and Friday. 

John Helmholdt is the district's Communication Director, and speaking with him Tuesday, he did not downplay the significance of what the return to in-person learning means to both students and staff. 

“It really is a historic day for us,” Helmholdt said. “It was just great to see the kids, the excitement, it was quiet, I think everyone was just kind of shuffling in, getting used to it, but it went really smoothly.” 

Helmholdt praised Superintendent Leadrine Roby for her leadership during the pandemic, extraordinary he said, considering this year is her first on the job after being hired as Teresa Weatherall Neal’s replacement. 

Meanwhile, both groups will stay away from schools on Wednesday for the time being, so that cleaning crews can sanitize the buildings between the two.