Abilene ISD teachers prepare for school year, both in the classroom and on the screen

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene Independent School District (AISD) teachers are back on campus and in their classrooms this week getting ready for the upcoming school year.

While things might look somewhat normal as Brittney Keesee sets up her third grade classroom at Taylor Elementary, this is not just any other year.

“It’s always stressful, you’re thinking through everything and trying to plan exactly what you’re going to do with them,” said Keesee. “Now it’s still trying to plan those things, but having to think about them a little differently.”

There will be a lot of changes heading into the year, starting with the first day. Instead of “getting to know you” games, Keesee will be adding an extra lesson about keeping each other safe from COVID-19.

“[I’ll] show them about keeping each other safe, and germs, and how to wash their hands and practice good hygiene,” said Keesee.

That includes wearing a mask.

“We’re really big on classroom family here, and I’m hoping that that will motivate them to think about other people. We do kindness crew, and that’s a way to be kind to other people.”

This year won’t just come with a few learning curves for students, but teachers, too. Keesee will be in charge of both students in the desks and on the screen.

“I think I’m more worried about technical difficulties and having to solve that,” said Keesee. “We will set up iPads and Chromebooks and have them kind of directed at the board so that as we’re teaching the lesson, the kids at home are getting the same information.”

As far as being able to hear the teacher, staff say they’re hoping that won’t be a problem.

“I think AISD has purchased us microphones so that they will be able to hear us really well,” said Keesee.

While some may be getting a new glimpse of what a classroom is, those who learn in person are going to see some changes as well.

“We know we need to take care of the physical distancing aspect as much as we can,” said Taylor Elementary School Principal Keri Thornburg.

Even through all the changes though, those at Taylor are sticking to just one message.

“Our t-shirt this year says, ‘We rise by lifting others,’ and I think that’s going to be a big mission here at Taylor, is keeping everybody positive and keeping the kids positive and it’s going to be a different year, but it’s going to be good,” said Keesee.

Abilene ISD schools will start on Aug. 24.

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