HORIZON CITY, Texas -- The Clint Independent School District kicked off the start of the school year on Monday. ABC-7 spoke to several teachers who said they're excited to have students back, but anticipate many challenges.
Julian Gandarilla, a teacher at Frank Macias Elementary School, said virtual learning was difficult for several of his students last school year.
"Some kids don't have the support at home that they have here at school," Gandarilla said. "It was very difficult to work with some of the kids and teaching them new content."
Gandarilla said he anticipates many students have likely undergone some type of learning loss over the past year. However, having students back in the classroom will help him focus on each one individually.
"It's very important to have students back in the classroom because they don't get the same engagement (at school) than they would at home," Gandarilla said. "They're able to talk to their peers and I'm able to help them with their classwork."
Pre-Kinder teacher Heather Lopez said she won't know if her students have any type of learning loss, "because (pre-k) is where they're starting."
Lopez said what she's concerned about are her student's motor skills, "which would be them cutting, holding a pencil."
Lopez anticipates working on building up those skills before they get the to next grade level.
Teachers, like Lopez, said they're looking forward to making on-on-one connections with they students. Lopez said it was hard to build a relationship with her students through virtual learning.
"We didn't build that (relationship) until the end of the year and that's something we accomplish at the beginning of the year usually."
Clint ISD said safety is also a main priority. All campuses will have air filtration systems. Masks are also strongly encouraged.
New technology is also being implemented, like new security systems and "smart panels" or touch screen monitors for teachers to use in the classroom.
"It was a difficult year, last year, and this year it's going to be just as challenging but different," said Superintendent Juan Martinez. "(Having) our students in the classrooms, that will make a big difference, of course. But we're ready."