Anderson-Shiro students return back to the classroom
“Kids were screaming for normalcy, and I believe our community and our parents were as well. We’re excited that kids are in school.”
ANDERSON, Texas (KBTX) - As children and teachers return to school for the new year, they’re doing so with fewer restrictions in place from the previous school year. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently updated its Public Health Guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year.
Anderson-Shiro Consolidated Independent School District is one of the first districts in the Brazos Valley to return to school for the new academic year. School officials say they’re glad to be back, and students feel the same way.
“We welcomed close to 920 students into the school this year which is up about 25 students from last school year,” said Anderson-Shiro Superintendent Scott Beene. “We’re excited about what’s coming our direction and getting school started on a pretty normal basis.”
“Kids were screaming for normalcy, and I believe our community and our parents were as well. We’re excited that kids are in school,” said Beene. “We know that this is the best place for them to get the best education. We’re a growing community, and it’s exciting times. We have hallways filled up, classrooms filled up, and we’re going to educate kids to the best of our ability every day.”
Anderson-Shiro Elementary School Principal Stacey Zielonka says the district is committed to keeping students as safe as possible.
“We’re taking that day by day, case by case and situation. We’re following all the guidelines that get released from the TEA. We definitely want to make sure we keep our kids safe and protected,” said Zielonka. “We’re still using the same measures for safety. We’re cleaning everything as much as possible, keeping our kids distanced as much as we can. But we really honestly are just trying to get back to that pre-COVID and normalcy for our kids so they can have that normalcy back at school.”
Zielonka says it’s important for children to return to the classroom, not just for their education but for their mental health.
“Our kids need routine and security, and for many of our students, this is their safe, secure place. This is what they know is going to be the same all the time when they come. Our job as educators is to bring that to them, and so being able to come back at school, back with their school family, teachers, and friends are very important,” said Zielonka. “You can already see their spirit today, how excited they are that we’re not wearing masks. That we’re able to look at each other and talk with each other and just even hug each other to be close. So it’s really important.”
School nurse Milissa Walla says the district will closely monitor students who begin to display symptoms of COVID and keep them away from students.
“If I’ve got children with any of these symptoms that possibly could be COVID, I’m going to call the parent, have them picked up and let a doctor evaluate that, and let the doctor give us a return to school just to keep everyone safe,” said Walla. “Because this is Texas, everyone has allergy symptoms, and that was the big thing I saw last year. It was, ‘oh, it was just allergies. It’s just allergies’, and I said, ‘no, I’ve got to have a test.’ The majority of them all came back positive. So that’s going to be my thing this year, sending them home with those symptoms and having a doctor telling me they’re clear.”
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