Fontana teachers, counselors, teddy bears help welcome elementary students back to school

For the first time in nearly a year, students at Redwood Elementary in Fontana were invited back to school; to help break the ice, teddy bears for all the kids to love!
FONTANA (KABC) -- It's a big day for some elementary school kids in Fontana. They're going back to school!

For the first time in nearly a year, students at Redwood Elementary in Fontana were invited back to school. It's been tough for kids and their parents. So to help kick things off: a "meet and greet.'

"It's nice for them to do this for the kids. Just so they can come out here to see their teachers and get to know them instead of through the screen for a couple hours a day. It's good for them to at least get out in the sun," said Michael Valenzuela.

The idea for this came about because of what teachers and counselors were seeing in their students.

"Online learning has been really difficult. They feel isolated from their peers. They don't feel connected to their teachers," said Elizabeth Romanio, school counselor.

Along with seeing their friends and teachers, the kids were given a goody bag: In it, a teddy bear.

"Most children have had a teddy bear. Something that they can easily connect with, something that can help them get through this pandemic. So we know that we cannot give them a hug, we cannot be inside the homes, but through this bear they know that we care about them and that we love them," said Eduardo Valencia, school counselor.

The families were physically distanced. You can't see them through their masks, but the smiles were there. They were back in a familiar and safe place with people they haven't seen in months.

"We are addressing the social and emotional aspect for the kids because we know that our students have suffered losses," said Valencia. "They're stressed out and we're really trying to work with the system we're in now. And it's been difficult."

The organizers of this back to school day hope other schools will follow their lead and do the same.
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