Rain cannot dampen Milford's first day of school

MILFORD — Rain could not dampen the enthusiasm Wednesday as teachers welcomed students back at schools throughout the district for full-day, in-person instruction once again.

“The opening went really well,” said Steve Gottlieb, principal at Harborside Middle School, describing the first day of school. “All of our kids got off the bus in a great orderly fashion, everyone was a safe masked up, everyone went into through the correct doors and made it to their homerooms.”

The majority of students who arrived at Harborside Middle School arrived via school bus.

Milford schools Chief Operations Officer James Richetelli, Jr., said that there are no issues with driver shortages or fears of missed routes with Durham School Services, the school system’s contracted bus company.

“We’re very fortunate,” Richetelli said. “(Durham) has done a great job of retaining drivers … they have been working on that since the pandemic began. They also made a big recruitment push before last year, and they have several new drivers trained and licensed and ready to go.”

Gottlieb said staff at Harborside Middle School are excited to get the school year going and are ready for the changes to this school year.

“They (teachers) are excited to get going and are looking forward to the school year especially, with the changes of the kids coming to them and being able to concentrate on the instruction as well as the social and emotional piece,” said Gottlieb.

“We have new schedules at the middle school,” Gottlieb added, “so they’ll have extended time to do a lot more instructional strategies and really get the kids engaged in learning more than they did last year because of the situation we were in.”

Gottlieb said they are still putting the health and safety of staff and students at the forefront of everything they do and have plenty of mitigating practices they are following.

Some of those include having students' desks spaced out three feet and making sure students and teachers are six feet apart in the classroom.

This year, the staff at Harborside Middle School is excited to get a full year of instruction without any interruption.

“We are excited about the instructional practices that we are going to build upon from last year and everything we’ve been learning from the district,” he said. “We want to get back more normalcy for teachers, students and parents.”

Gottlieb said he’s thankful for the support Harborside Middle School has received from the community.

“Parents have been wonderful, open, responsive and appreciative to the things we are doing. If they’ve ever had questions, they let us know, and we respond appropriately and as quickly as possible,” he said. “The district leadership has been great in providing us resources throughout the school year and through the summer.”