SAN ANTONIO – There’s a new school and a new level of excitement as San Antonio Independent School District teachers and students have returned back to the classroom in-person.
Teachers and faculty from the newly renovated Hot Wells Middle School, formerly Ball Academy, told KSAT12 how they felt about the first day.
Joanna Martinez, a math teacher, said she was “ecstatic” and Rogelio Escobar, a band director, said he was “pretty happy actually”.
David Alonzo, the boys athletic coordinator, said he was “excited.”
Amber Gates, the language arts teacher, said she was ready to start at a new school and to have students back in her classroom.
Valerie Urrabas, a mom to a seventh grader at Hot Wells, said her daughter does much better in the classroom but that she is still hesitant with COVID-19 cases spiking.
”Just that the rise of COVID-19 doesn’t get them sick, but they have their mask on and hopefully they stay OK,” Urrabas said, sharing her concerns about the return to the classroom.
SAISD superintendent Pedro Martinez said despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s law against mask mandates, he feels pretty confident in students safely returning back.
”Over 99% of our families have opted in to have their children wear masks,” Martinez said. “I’ve asked my teachers to wear a mask, as we are all still learning about these variants. And the vast majority of my staff has been vaccinated.”
Eighth grader Mady Jacobo said she feels behind in her education and is ready to be back in person and eager to work.
”I didn’t learn nothing last year,” Mady said. “I was always home asleep. I would never go online.”
Middle school math teacher Joanna Martinez said she feels safe with the safety measures that the district has put in place and thinks this year will be more successful when it comes to learning.
“I feel like we can get pretty close to normal, especially when it comes to collaboration in the classrooms and get students to work with each other again instead of staring behind a screen,” Martinez said.
The superintendent said they will have COVID-19 testing at every school in the district, along with vaccination hubs at some of the district high schools.