POTTSVILLE, Pa. — Classrooms are full again at Pottsville Area High School. Students returned for their first day of classes Wednesday, excited to connect with fellow students in person.
"It feels great to be back because last year I didn't have like any friends because we did the hybrid thing, but I'm really glad to see everybody," said Madison Eroh, a sophomore.
Senior Amari Dunn says the face-to-face classes make a difference.
"I get to learn more, and interacting with people definitely helps you understand it more," said Amari Dunn, senior. "We were at home, and I didn't have a lot of teacher help. Now that I'm here, I feel a lot more comfortable."
Masks are recommended but optional inside school buildings according to the district's health and safety plan.
That plan was agreed upon in an August meeting but will be reviewed next month to see if any changes are needed.
The CDC rates Schuylkill County's COVID-19 transmission at the highest level.
"I did see a rise in cases, so I'm a little bit concerned about that. But right now, I think, I mean like here, I think we're okay," said Eroh.
"I think if everybody follows the rules, I think we should be fine," said Dunn.
Dunn is excited to get back on the football field this Friday night in front of the home fans.
District officials are not limiting the number of spectators as they did at the start of last season.
"With all the seating that we have available, people will be able to spread out to their comfort level," said Tiffany Hummel, principal. "Obviously sit with their families, but we would ask that people spread out if somebody that's not in their household or in their circle that they've been associating with."
The field is prepped with freshly painted lines, and the anticipation is growing.
"I'm looking forward to the football games and the pep rallies and honestly just being here with a normal year," said Eroh.
The lights will be bright on Friday night as the Crimson Tide takes on Selinsgrove in Pottsville.