LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools welcomed its youngest students back to campus on Wednesday. For at least one teacher, it was also his first time delivering instruction in-person.

"I’m glad to be back, I’m ready for it," explained Scott DeHart, first grade teacher at Semple Elementary.

What You Need To Know

  • Students in grades K-2 returned to JCPS classrooms Wednesday

  • Wednesday was also the first day in-person for one teacher at Semple Elementary

  • Scott DeHart was happy to be teaching his students in-person after months exclusively on NTI

  • JCPS middle and high schoolers return April 5

After months of silent halls and empty rooms, Semple Elementary was abuzz Wednesday morning. The sights and sounds were ringing out from the bus lots to the classrooms.

"There are definitely some jitters like, 'oh man, it's real, we’re doing this,'" DeHart said.

It’s a new beginning for this rookie teacher who recently started his career in education.

"I never imagined that I was going to have a 100-year pandemic on [my] first year of teaching," he said.

After spending nearly a year teaching in front of a computer screen, DeHart is ready to pivot again, this time back to in-person instruction.

Operating on a hybrid learning schedule, Dehart said he has nine students returning the first day back and seven on Thursday. The rest will remain on NTI.

His classroom is much different, with students spaced apart and additional protocols in place to keep everyone safe.

"Normally we would just line up all throughout the room. Now, I have to have specific spots and tape marks on the floor," DeHart said.

He expects his younger students will need reminders to stay in line with the new rules.

"Kids are resilient, I think they’re going to do fine. Obviously we’ll to have to coach them, but that’s why we’re teachers," DeHart said.

Educators welcome the challenge, adding that it won’t get in the way of them learning how to navigate through this unusual school year.

"We’re teaching these kids to be flexible, to be resilient. If I can’t model that for them then I’m in the wrong profession," DeHart added.

After a successful first day back on campus, we checked back in with Dehart who remained thrilled about the hybrid reopening. Kids are having to learn a little bit different. They’re having to learn new techniques and procedures but its here and we’re doing it.

All in all, the father of three remains optimistic as he builds stronger connections with his students face to face.

"They just need to know someone cares and you can show that 100 times more in person that you can on a screen."

JCPS high school and middle school students are expected to return to in-person learning April 5.