Hundreds of students took part in the annual homecoming parade at Waunakee this weekend, celebrating a return to school that held more significance than it arguably ever has before.  

The homecoming parade took place Oct. 1, with floats departing from the fire station and rendezvousing at Waunakee High School approximately 1 mile away.  

The procession celebrated the start of the first fully in-person schoolyear since 2018-19.

Families of K-12 students have spent the past year and a half adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that came with it. Among them were remote instruction, navigating new learning-management systems, accommodating work schedules to fit unforeseen childcare needs and masking children not yet old enough to understand the perils of a global pandemic, to name a few.  

The 2021-22 school year began Sept. 1, and marked a hopeful beginning to the end of those challenges. All grades have now returned in face-to-face instruction, as well as the majority of co-curricular activities. 

Dane County has been under a mask mandate since mid-August. 

COVID-19 vaccines were recently authorized for everyone aged 12 and older.  Medical professionals have said that authorization for children as young as 5 is expected soon, and when that occurs, many are hopeful that school - and life in general - will return to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy.