PPS students start first day of new year

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 4:40 PM CDT
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Teachers and staff at Sterling Elementary welcomed kids in as they stepped through the doors for their first day of class.

The August 3 back to school date is the earlier students ever have filed in to their classrooms. It’s a part of a change to the Peoria Public School calendar. For at least one parent, sending her children off to school was a relief.

“I’m so excited,” Robyn Stringer said of dropping her 6th and 8th grader off for their first day. “I’m glad to get them out of the house,” she added with a laugh.

Students hopped off buses and out of cars in the typical uniform: polos, slacks and a backpack carrying their supplies. One notable accessory is largely missing this year, however: masks. PPS has been mask option since February 2022, but this is the first start of the year that doesn’t require face coverings.

“This is probably the most ‘normal’ school year we’ve had in three years if you think about it,” District 4 Peoria City Councilman Andre Allen said. “Returning back this fall without a mask mandate... this is a beautiful time for our children. I’m excited for them, I’m excited for teachers, educators, administrators, parents and guardians as well. They can send their kids back with a level of comfortable.”

Allen was present along with Superintendent for PPS Sharon Desmoun-Kherat and representatives of Peoria Police Department welcoming kids into the doors.

Administrators and staff were present to tell them where their homeroom class would be. Returning to some normalcy means some students get to keep the parts of school they enjoy. Eighth grader Zayvion Stoner said he’s happy to be back with his friends and teachers, he’s also looking forward to trying out for the basketball team.

However, compared to how he spent his summer, he isn’t looking forward to his new morning routine.

“It was great, playing basketball, kicking it with friends and stuff, sleeping in,” Stoner said of his summer. “Now I just gotta wake up every morning.”

The early start is just for PPS. In Morton, school begins August 12 for District 709, and August 15 for District 201. In Bloomington, District 87 begins on august 18. Unit 5 for McLean County starts August 17.

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