Back to school during coronavirus: Here's how one San Gabriel Valley campus is preparing

San Gabriel Christian School is looking into technology - like UV lights to sanitize books - to help keep students safe once they return to campus later this year.
SAN GABRIEL, Calif. (KABC) -- Schools are still adjusting to online learning. At one private school in the San Gabriel Valley, teachers are trying to make lessons not only informative but fun.

The school is also already preparing for some big changes once its campus reopens.

In-person classes, recitals and sports - all silenced by COVID-19. Once filled with children, classrooms and playgrounds at San Gabriel Christian School are now empty.

"I miss talking, like asking questions to my teacher in person and I miss spending time with my friends," said Francesca Silvio, a 6th grader at San Gabriel Christian School.

Assistant principal and 5th grade teacher Chesed Bialon says it's been a smooth transition to distance learning. She's meeting with students via Zoom and they're watching educational videos for math, language arts and science classes.

"Our science teacher does dress-up days. So she came in a full clown costume. So just trying to make a happy time for the kids, while we know it's such a serious time," said Bialon.

Bialon says they're all working to maintain a sense of normalcy, writing weekly notes to students and scheduling one-on-one sessions.

"So I think you just have to look at it differently. You can still engage and love your kids, but you have to do it in a different way," said Bialon.

Meantime, Principal Joel Staggers is looking into technology to keep students safe once they return to campus.

"One of the things we're considering is using UV light to sanitize all the books when they return, sanitize them before they go out," said Staggers.

San Gabriel Christian is funded through the church and tuition. Staggers says two children have left amid this crisis, but he does not see that number growing.

He says the school is working with families that have run into financial difficulties and he has faith their school will survive this.

"It was amazing how well our teachers were able to carry out that education and continue to love on our students and care for them and minister to them in this difficult time," said Staggers.
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