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The high school reopens one year after the pandemic with many students opting for online classes

COURTESY PHOTO: TIGARD-TUALATIN SCHOOL DISTRICT - Students enter Tualatin High School for the first time in a year this week.The first week back to in-person person classes at Tualatin High School proved a to be a "crazy ride," but one that has shown the adaptability and cooperation of students and teachers alike, according to the school's principal.

It's been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Oregon classrooms. But on Monday, April 19, many lowerclassmen at Tualatin High returned to campus for the first time since March 2020.

"I don't think I had a single kiddo that I saw step off the bus, and into our building that didn't have a mask and who weren't following the guidelines that we set for them. They were amazing," Dellerba said.

The biggest questions from those students were about where classes were located. Some upperclassmen served as "pack leaders" to guide the younger Timberwolves to where they needed to go.

"Those students were really key in helping the rest of our students get anchored and where to go and navigate our huge campus," Dellerba said of the pack leaders. "It was a pretty smooth start."COURTESY PHOTO: MICHAEL DELLERBA - Becky Beeler, an Instructional coach and English teacher, prepares to teacher her ninth-grade students this week.

On Tuesday, cohorts of juniors and seniors returned to school as well. Teachers in effect are teaching both cohorts at the same time, half of whom are in person and half of whom are at home online. Students work asynchronously on Wednesdays because that is a teacher collaboration day, said Dellerba.

The first period begins at begins at 10 a.m., and all classes are finished by 4 p.m., with every student ending up with four days of instruction each week.

Dellerba said he has been humbled each day by the work that Tualatin High teachers are doing.

"You know, they've had to go through a lot in the last year, from pivoting from completely in-person teaching, (teaching) online for three quarters of the year using a whole different tools and strategies, and to do so in a way where kids aren't falling off the ledge," he said.

Dellerba said teachers were happy to see students in person as well instead of viewing their icons in an online group session.

"I think they're very happy to be around kids again because that's what drives them but it's not without challenge you know," said Dellerba.COURTESY PHOTO: TIGARD-TUALATIN SCHOOL DISTRICT - Michael Dellerba greets students getting off the bus during the first week back at Tualatin High School since the pandemic shut down everything last year.

Still, not everyone has opted to return to in-person classes. Most of Tualatin High's student body has stuck with comprehensive distance learning.

Dellerba estimates there are 700 students working in the hybrid learning model and about 1,200 students who have decided to continue with the current online learning at home.

Meanwhile, student lunches have returned via a slightly different delivery system that doesn't involve congregating in a crowded cafeteria.

"We're having students eat lunches in one of their period classrooms," said Dellerba. "Those lunches are delivered, they eat their lunch in the classroom, they clean up when they're finished and then they work for the rest of their day."COURTESY PHOTO: MICHAEL DELLERBA - Marin Langner teaches English to her hybrid class this week.


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