When students began pouring into Ottawa Township High School on Monday morning hall monitor Margie Gibson smiled.

"They were tickled to death to be back," she said. "The smiles on their faces and the greetings - I think it had to be tough on them."

OTHS 1,500 students missed 16 school days since Sept. 30 when teachers went on strike after failing to come to a contract agreement with the board of education. Details of the agreement that ended the strike early Monday are expected to be released publicly after the board ratifies the contract Wednesday.

Interim superintendent Matt Winchester said the school day had gone well and that everything seemed positive.

"For the students, faculty and staff, it's all been positive," he said. "We still have about 35 minutes to go, but things have gone well. Kids are resilient; they always seem to bounce back after difficult times."

Winchester implemented a hush policy regarding the strike, asking teachers and faculty to avoid discussions and get into teaching again. And although some students had asked teachers some questions, the response was that the teachers were not allowed to talk about the strike.

The reason, Winchester said, was two-fold. One, he thought it would serve everyone better and offer a sense of closure that the strike was over.

"We wanted to get back to teaching and learning," he said. "And it's my opinion that the classroom isn't where we should be talking about the strike."

Nick Green, an OTHS junior, said he was happy to be back.

"I was really tired this morning," Green said. "I'm happy. I think they should be allowed to strike so they don't get taken advantage of, but I'm glad to be back."

Parents lined up to pick up their kids from school at the end of the day were thrilled as well.

Sandy Crabb of Grand Ridge, whose daughter Jayna Crabb is a freshman, said her daughter came to school at 7 a.m. excited to be back.

"She started getting lazy, sleeping in, you know, typical teenage kid," she said. "I didn't really follow the strike, I was just glad they got a deal done. I hope they don't do this again in three years when she's a senior."


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