Milford students return to school with more normal experience

MILFORD — More than 5,300 Milford students were welcomed to their first day of school on Wednesday, as well as a return to a more normal school experience.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating students, staff and re-engaging, relationships and working together and getting back to student-centered work. It’s almost feeling like a normal start,” said Superintendent of Schools Anna Cutaia. “I say almost because it’s going to be even better because we get to celebrate what we took for granted for so long.”

In February, Gov. Ned Lamont lifted the state requirement for students, teachers and staff to wear masks in schools and gave the power to local leaders to make decisions for their districts.

At that time, Cutaia said MPS would be lifting its mask mandate when it was “safe and appropriate” to do so.

The 2022-23 school year is the first one in nearly two years where masks are not required, and COVID-19 protocols have been loosened.

Officials at East Shore Middle School were eager to start the new school year with fewer COVID restrictions.

“The atmosphere is so different from last year,” said Principal Shannan Carlson. “The energy is incredible, and the kids are happy to be here. Having to isolate last year and be six feet apart could be isolating for some kids, but this year we are excited they can be in close proximity to each other.”

She said students also couldn’t move between classes last year, but will be able to do so this year, as well as move throughout the building.

Assistant Principal Jim Genova started his first day in his new role. He said he was thrilled for the opportunity to continue to build on the strong sense of community the school has created.

“I’m looking forward to meeting all the students and supporting staff and the students the best I can,” he said.

Cutaia was also at East Shore Middle School welcoming students and greeting parents for the first day of school.

“I just opened the door for a young man in sixth grade, his first year in middle school, and he had a huge smile on his face,” she said. “I don’t know if I would have seen that in the last couple of years.”