SAN ANTONIO – Monday is the first day of school for many students, teachers and families in and around San Antonio. But back to school looks a lot different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been difficult to adapt, but not impossible,” 10th grader Letza Martinez said.
Letza Martinez is a student at CAST Med High School, and, like so many students across the country, will be heading back to school online.
“They were extremely proactive in a reactive condition, I mean, it was amazing what happened in this school district and I was extremely impressed and happy that our district was looking out for our kids as well as for the staff,” Dr. Eddie Rodriguez, principal at CAST Med High School said.
SAISD and CAST Med High School are taking every precaution, even taking a tech approach like using things like QR codes. You pull out your phone, show the camera the QR code and it notifies the custodial staff of the school and the district of an issue.
This is a new way of learning not only for students and families, but also teachers.
“Well, it is a totally new way of teaching, one that we had to learn since March,” Dr. Rodriguez said.
It’s a challenge making virtual learning as effective as in person.
“The training has been very positive, we wanna find methods and ways that include technology and educational tools that will engage the students,” Dr. Rodriguez said.
CAST Med isn’t a typical high school.
“I would like to be a pediatrician, I want to be a doctor and CAST Med is a great start,” Martinez said.
CAST MED is a free public school for students who want to enter the medical field — and this year, it included internships — including a special one Letza took part in at the SAVE Clinic.
“More professionals born and raised here would be huge on the South Side, we have a deficit of well over 100 primary care physicians, so the more we can train our young folks to become professionals to help our community the better off we will be,” Carl Negley, of the SAVE Clinic said.
Medical professionals in our community are more important now than ever before. As for this school year, Letza has some advice for her fellow students.
“Try to stay as positive as you can, we will get through this,” she said.