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After almost a year, ASD students finally returned to classrooms

Over 7,000 students across the school district make their way back for in-person learning
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 8:21 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Students across the Anchorage School District have not been in in-person classes since March 2020. On Wednesday, 7,005 students made their way back to school buildings.

“I’m really excited to have our students in the building today,” North Star Elementary kindergarten teacher Katie Sodoti said. “We’re thrilled to teach them all those routines and rituals that we’ve been practicing online, in Zoom classes and in-person, in school.”

North Star’s Principal Julie Sery was so excited she lost sleep.

“I woke up and was ready to come to work so it was exciting,” Sery said.

The same excitement was happening at Chugach Optional School.

“Day one they were happy,” kindergarten teacher Caycee Reloza said. “They were all happy to be here.”

Reloza says the students also did a great job following the new protocols.

“Bless them, they did,” Reloza said. “They did a really good job and we’re here with gentle reminders for everybody, children and adults alike.”

The school district said the first day of school went relatively smoothly. Chugach Optional Principal Clare Hill did notice one thing she needs to iron out.

“My only piece I want to work with my team on is that end of the day pick up,” Hill said. “We had some parents come a little early and it was just a little, let’s get through this and I looked at my clock and we had all the students in their cars in 15 minutes.”

Some parents still had concerns but it didn’t stop them from allowing their children from missing out on the first day of school. The Anchorage Education Association or Teacher’s Union also has concerns as it filed a grievance against the school district. The teacher’s union is concerned that not all classrooms and spaces are following Centers of Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“Not all school principals are as supportive as others,” AEA President Corey Aist said. “Those with supportive administrators are doing well. Those with unsupportive management need additional supports.”

There is still a lot to work out but the fact remains, children are once again, going back to school. They will continue to do so, according to ASD Superintendent Deena Bishop, until a city or state ordinance is handed down preventing them from continuing.

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