August 20, 2021 News

Students meet their teachers ahead of school year at Back to School Night

SCJ Back to School Night
Students meet their teachers on back to school night. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Yamada/The Sioux City Journal

Students and their parents streamed into Sioux City schools on Thursday to meet their new teachers, unpack supplies and tour their new classrooms.

The annual Back to School night event provides students, parents and teachers an opportunity to prepare for quickly approaching school year.

At the Loess Hill Computer Programming Elementary School, kids got to pick out a new book as they entered the building.

The event helps “break the ice” for students, said Physical Education teacher Cynthia Tudehope. For the teachers, it helps them put a name to a face.

“(The kids) kind of know where they’re going and they’ve met their teachers,” she said.

Dellaveve Hoxie is going into first grade. She said she is excited for school and greeted other students as they walked into the school.

He mom, Brianna Hoxie, said she is excited about the next year but is worried about COVID-19. With her daughter and son, Codin Hoxie unable to receive the vaccine, she worries about another infection in the family.

Without a mask mandate for the school, Brianna Hoxie said it is hard to get her daughter to wear a mask.

“Because everyone else is not wearing it,” she said.

Jonathan Leon is going into fourth grade and said his favorite parts of school are meeting new friends and learning more, especially math.

His father, Saul Leon, hopes the students are safe and have a great school year.  Jonathan said he likes wearing his mask and  his father added that the students are well prepared for the school year.

“I think they’re ready,” Saul said.

Students return to the classroom for in-person learning on Aug. 23.

Masks will not be required, but strongly recommended, according to the school’s return-to-learn plan. Enhanced cleaning procedures in place and new this year, the school has acquired 16,000 rapid COVID-19 tests and will administer them with parent permission.

If a child becomes sick at school, the “caring room” will still be in place this year. The room is equipped with supplies and equipment to determine if the child should be sent home, according to the plan. If there are COVID-19 symptoms, the child’s guardian will be contacted and a rapid COVID test will be conducted with parental permission.

This year, the district hired ten certified nurse’s assistants to help with the workload.

With the heightened cleaning procedures creating more work for the janitorial staff, the school board approved the use of up to $3 million in ESSER 3 funding for hiring more teachers, janitorial staff and more. The school hopes to hire up to 17 part-time custodians through 2024.

Check out the full coverage by The Sioux City Journal’s Caitlyn Yamada by clicking here.