School district returns to near normalcy

5 day a week in-person learning begins in some Sunnyside schools
Liberty Elementary School
Posted at 12:20 AM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 09:15:54-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — After more than a year, students at Liberty Elementary school are back to 5-day a week traditional learning.

That could rattle a first-year principal's nerves, but not Stephanie Ponce.

"We've been ready. We've been prepared. We knew this was coming," she said.

But it took a lot of preparation to get to that point.

Not only in setting up all the COVID safety protocols, she said, "in setting up for furniture, for dismissal, for drop off, for lunches and this was supported by everybody on campus."

The furniture had been a big challenge.

A little more than half of the students are back.

In hybrid-mode, 150 students had been on campus each day.

Now it's swelled to about 300.

2nd grade teacher Gina Gonzalez-Rojas had to take out nine 4-person tables and replace them with desks.

"Having to come back in person full time. I had to squeeze in all of these desks. So it's really been a big change because we like to collaborate," she said.

Collaboration with parents has been a major key to success.

Staff held cafecitos to prepare parents for the coming changes.

"We talked to them," said Ponce, "Let your kids wear their masks at home just so they can get used to it. It's not something new. They can be comfortable running around in their masks outside."

And the kids? How did they feel?

We'll let Gina answer that one.

"They're just happy. They kept saying I'm so happy. I'm so happy to be back. I'm so happy that I don't have to stare at a screen anymore," she said.