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Students head back to class as Phoenix's Creighton District resumes in-person learning

School bus
Posted at 2:24 PM, Mar 16, 2021

It is a sight teachers and staff at Creighton Academy in Phoenix have not seen since October, cars in the driveline and students walking into class.

"I’m super excited and I can’t wait," said Kiera Rosas, who is in fourth grade.

The Creighton District is one of several this week either expanding or resuming in-person learning. Kiera's mom, Maria Rosas, is excited too.

"I am very excited to have her back because she was falling off toward the end of the semester," she said.

Rosas says months of remote learning with all three of her kids has been challenging.

"I am hoping for some kind of new normal and I’m ready for her to stay in school for the remainder of the year and moving forward," she said.

Principal Katie Cartier showed ABC15 the school's safety protocols which include desk shields, floor markers and designated spaces for "mask breaks." She says the school's innovative design is also helping with mitigation.

"We had no idea that when we were designing a space that was really what was best for kids instructionally, that we were designing a space that was ideal for COVID-like practices," said Cartier.

ABC15 first told you about Creighton School's planned $20 million makeover nearly three years ago, and its emphasis on open concept, non-traditional learning spaces. It has made the transition back to class easier but other concerns remain.

"There’s just really no substitute for in-person learning," said Cartier. "We know we’re coming back with kids who have a bigger learning gap than they did when they came in."

Teachers like Isabella Bottini know the challenges ahead but say they are working to keep kids on track while making new memories in class.

"The second that I see the kids, I feel like everything is just calm and they’re so excited and that’s contagious," said Bottini, who teaches reading and writing to third to fifth graders. "Become better readers, become better writers, but also that they look back on this year and still have a lot of positivity to remember from it."