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Coronavirus: Durham students pick up personal belongings

Click to play video 'Durham District School Board students pick up personal belongings' Durham District School Board students pick up personal belongings
It's been almost three months since students left behind their classrooms for March break.

It’s been almost three months since students left behind their classrooms for March break.

This month, the Durham District School Board is allowing about 70,000 students the opportunity to pick up their personal belongings and return any school materials.

Students have until June 26 to grab their belongings. After that, it’s up to the province to decide when they’ll be allowed back to class.

Grade 5 student Mason Daniels is returning to Glen Dhu Public School for the first time since March break when schools were closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s really weird to see the school for the first time in a long time, definitely been the longest March break I ever had,” said Daniels.

Daniels isn’t going to class, he’s at the school with his mom to pick up his binders, pencil case and the rest of his personal belongings.

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Being back at school has brought back memories for the 10-year-old and reminded him of what he’s missed the past few weeks.

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“It’s been different not seeing my friends around, not doing group work,” said Daniels.

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“Being outside and having the recesses, he doesn’t quite get the daily activity as he would if he was here at school,” said Robyn Daniels, Mason’s mom.

While finishing off the school year at home has been a learning experience, Daniels is confident he’s ready for Grade 6, whatever that looks like.

“I thought I did pretty good, not going to lie, but I don’t know, that’s up to the teachers,” said Daniels.

“In the beginning, it was a challenge but we’ve got into a better routine where Mason wakes up in the morning and does his homework,” said Robyn Daniels.

Keith Wainwright has been the principal at Glen Dhu Public School for the past four years.

He has been coordinating the pickups with parents.

“They’re supposed to be here for about 15 minutes. We make it easy, we packed up most of their stuff so they’re not scrambling and they’re not rushed and they have time to pick stuff up and move about slowly and safely,” said Wainwright.

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Physical distancing measures have been put in place.

While it’s not the way anybody wanted the school year to end, the pick up has given both teachers and students something that they’ve missed.

“It’s really nice to see them and to have those conversations that we have been able to have face to face, it’s been good and kind of bittersweet,” said Laura Jones, Glen Dhu Public School Grade 6 teacher.

As for Mason Daniels, it could be a long summer, he can’t wait to be back here so he can be with all his friends again.