NEW RICHMOND -- New Richmond middle schoolers filed back through the doors Monday morning for the first time since November.

The adjustment was difficult, seventh-grader Emersen Wissink said, especially after having access to an open fridge and bed all day.

“I think it is good for all of us though to get back, but still being safe” Wissink said. “It is nice to not be on a screen all day and be able to socialize with others in person.”

Eighth-grader Luke Mews said he was excited when he heard they were returning to school.

“I had missed my friends and teachers, but most of all I missed the fun class interactions I had known before we had gone virtual,” Mews said.

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Both middle school and high school students are returning to full-time, in-person classes this month after going virtual in mid-November.

High school students are set to return on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The decision was made as the infection rate in St. Croix County is going down, according to an update from Superintendent Patrick Olson. Data from St. Croix County Public Health also shows the infection acquired at school in the last month for ages 4-18 is at 3%.

Elementary students have remained in in-person instruction.

Olson thanked staff at all levels for their efforts this year, as well as everyone for their dedication and perseverance to combat the challenges and adjustments of COVID-19.

“If communities continue coming together like this, on the simple principle of compassion, then great things are going to happen!” he said.