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South County schools opened this week, but with increased preparations, and a delayed start among many changes educators, parents and students are confronting.

Apprehension combined with excitement and commitment are some of the feelings parents, students, teachers, school staff and administrators talked about to The Independent as school doors opened and students filled hallways.

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The Prout School students chatted with each other as each stood or sat on a red letter ‘P’ painted on an asphalt area outside the school during the second day of classes for the 2020-21 school year.  

With each student at least six feet from another, it was a chance for the class to get some fresh air and go mask-less for a bit – and adjust to the new reality as schools around the state resume classes in the COVID-19 era.

“Red Ps for Prout,” Head of School David Estes said.

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Throughout South County, another squad in the community COVID-response team has popped up: organizations that reach out to community members facing financial or mental health hardships.

The Independent has provided periodic stories about groups, organizations and businesses filling needs in the community. Their sponsors often say the motto “We’re in this together” is what draws supporters and volunteers into action.