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‘We’re just taking it a day at a time’ As students head back to school, Owego-Apalachin parents learn to adjust

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OWEGO (WBNG) -- The first day of school is obviously a big day for students, but it's a big day for parents as well. One mother daughter duo in Owego says they both have kids starting school in the district this year, and they're leaning on each other for support.

Robin Minstretta-Lewis and says she and her son, who is a senior this year, still haven't quite gotten the hang of their back to school routine.

"School started today and we're still not completely sure what it's going to look like but we're just taking it a day at a time," she says.

Lewis's daughter Sarah Mastretta has two kids who are heading back to Owego Elementary, with her son in second grade and her daughter in third. She says she too hasn't gotten all of the details ironed out yet, but having her mom around to help makes things better.

"It's definitely made it easier to navigate everything because it's not just me trying to figure everything out on my own you have somebody to bounce things off of sometimes she can answer questions I don't know the answer to and vice versa," she said.

They say while there have been some bumps in the road like getting access to bus schedules and setting up online resources, so far the hiccups have been normal and the district helpful.

While high school students will be on a hybrid schedule with two different teams alternating virtual learning days and in person learning days, elementary school students will attend school in person five days a week. The school told 12 News this was done to accommodate working parents since younger kids can't be left alone during the day.

Sarah Mastretta says this made her life a lot easier.

"It's obviously important that the reopening plans were all child focused but I feel that our district's reopening plan was also parent focused, it was very nice of them to consider that some of us have no choice but to have both parents out of the house," she says.

There are a few things that make the plan inconvenient, one of the biggest being the fact that her kids start the day an hour apart, but attend school in the same place.

"I have to get one kid up, fed dressed and ready to go then get my son up and do the same thing with him the second she leaves," she said.

Lewis-Mastretta says it's just something they'll have to get used to.

"It's new to all of us, it's something none of us have done and if we work together it benefits all of us, especially the children," she says.

To view the district's complete plan including mask wearing and social distancing policies, click here.

Owego-Aplachin was just one of several districts who started school today, to see back to school photos submitted by viewers from around the region, click here.

Jack Arpey

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