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Columbus students return to the classroom after approval of the new teachers' contract

 Students arrive at Weinland Park Elementary for the first day of in-person classes on Monday, August 29, 2022 following the end of the Columbus teachers' strike.
Matthew Rand
/
WOSU
Students arrive at Weinland Park Elementary for the first day of in-person classes on Monday, August 29, 2022 following the end of the Columbus teachers' strike.

Columbus City Schools welcomed students back to in-person learning on Monday, one week after the start of a teachers' strike.

Students and teachers were in the classroom after the school board on Monday morning ratified the new three-year labor deal approved by the teachers' union on Sunday.

The sounds of school buses replaced the chants of picketing teachers Monday outside Weinland Park Elementary School.

Parents at the school expressed relief that the teachers' strike is over and that their kids can get on with the fall term.

Among them was Sherrika Swann, who was there trying to enroll her daughter Journey into kindergarten.

"She's very excited. She really doesn't understand because she's only five. So she's just excited to get into school and make new friends and learn. So I'm trying to keep her steady without all the chaos so she won't, you know, get off track so she can learn properly," Swann said.

Sherrika Swann was at Weinland Park Elementary on Monday, August 29, 2022 with her daughter Journey into enroll her in kindergarten.
Matthew Rand
/
WOSU
Sherrika Swann was at Weinland Park Elementary on Monday, August 29, 2022 with her daughter Journey into enroll her in kindergarten.

The new contract gives teachers 4% pay raises each of the new three years and guarantees all schools will be climate controlled during that time.

It also states music, arts and gym teachers will never serve in more than two buildings, and places tighter limits on class sizes.

Jalisa Searcy has two kids in the district and was also dropping her 4th and 5th graders at Weinland Park Elementary School. She said it's a relief a deal is in place so that kids can go to school in person.

"I mean, it's a blessing that they are back in school, for real. That's where they need to be, because a lot of different things has been going on throughout the summer, you know what I'm saying? I believe it's gonna be a good school year," she said.

Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.