As the school bell rings and winter break officially ends, you are sure to hear a few sighs if you pass a school in Portage la Prairie today.

Darryl Patterson, Yellowquill School Principal, says he is refreshed from the break and ready to welcome back students to classrooms after a somewhat difficult start to the year.

"The fall was a little tougher than everyone thought it might be coming out of COVID, mainly due to sickness. We noticed that quite a few of our students and staff were sick."

He notes that before the break, the school spent a lot of time building back routines and that sense of community which was swept under the rug during the pandemic.

Patterson, who has been in education for the last 17 years, says that although the first day back from winter break is usually a little bit loose, once that is under the belt, students know it's time to get back-on-track. 

"I think everybody settles in pretty quickly, and we just review our routines."

The Yellowquill School Principal shares that one of his highlights during the break was seeing students out in the community, adding that they are usually surprised not to see him in a tie.

"They have to take a second glance because they're not used to seeing me that way," laughingly says Patterson.

As far as the second half of the year goes, Patterson explains that he continues to look forward to getting back to the things that make schools so great, such as student, staff and parent interaction.

Patterson notes that he can't wait to see everyone back in the classroom and is so thankful for all the work that parents and staff do that maybe don't get recognized daily.