With Arizona schools ordered to reopen, parents and students weigh whether a return is safe

By Rachel Leingang | Arizona Republic

Monday will be the first day of high school that Amanda Gellman, a 14-year-old freshman, actually experiences inside a classroom.

Gellman has attended Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee Foothills entirely online, even after the school briefly reopened for in-person classes last fall, and she’s not sure what to expect.

She knows she’s missed out on some experiences, but she also knows everyone has done their best to adapt.

Gellman feels nervous about some students not wearing masks and potential spring break travelers then coming to campus, but she’s ready to give it a shot. It’ll probably be “really weird and different.” Still, online learning is lonely, though she’s done well academically. She had an in-person theater production, but no homecoming.

“I’m gonna probably need to get adjusted again to the flow of in-person. So it’ll definitely be weird, but I think maybe two weeks in, I’ll probably get the hang of it,” she said.

Gellman is one of many students, parents, teachers and school staff getting ready for a return to a modicum of normalcy as schools around the state reopen in-person March 15.

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