Spokane high schools finally reopen. Here’s what the first day was like at North Central. – The Spokesman-Review

The first day of school never felt this cold. Or this warm.

Back Monday for the first time in almost a year, students at North Central High School spent the first 15 minutes outside, shivering.

But after a few steps inside, it felt like they’d never left. The hallways were decorated with balloons and ribbons in school colors of red and black.

At the end of the main hall was a giant sign that said it all: “Welcome home.”

As reassuring as the sights, were the sounds – of a teacher pointing a lost-looking freshman in the right direction, or Principal Steve Fisk greeting a returning student.

Even a reminder to “put your mask over your nose” felt less like a command.

In the secondary school buildings of Spokane Public Schools, Monday felt like a combination of freshman orientation, homecoming and a masquerade ball, though at least you could see everyone’s eyes.

“Having our kids back is wonderful,” Fisk said. “For me this is priceless. Definitely we are doing it differently, but this is what we do.”

Inside Matthew Johnson’s class on the second floor, they were doing face-to-face learning for the first time in almost a year since COVID-19 cleared out the buildings in Spokane Public Schools.

The district’s secondary students finally returned on Monday. At NC, some of the faces were still familiar, but not others.

Looking ahead to a day of history classes, Johnson said, “I’ve never really met some of them before, so it’s exciting to be able to put a name to a