Coronavirus Impact: Livermore teacher makes best of social distancing by staying connected to students

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) -- Students are learning to adjust to school closures amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Students are having to maintain their school work through lesson plans and online resources.

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A second grade teacher at Arroyo Seco Elementary in Livermore is making the best of school closures by becoming available to students by email and FaceTime.

"I FaceTime with my two-year-old grand-daughter all the time and I know how important it is for her to see me," said Valerie Kikes, a teacher at Arroyo Seco Elementary in Livermore. "I thought it would be a good way to connect with my kids and have some one-on-one time with them."

One of Kikes' second-grade students reached out to her through Facetime to check-in.

"She is just so nice," said McCovey Stewart, a student at Arroyo Seco Elementary. "It makes me really happy when I'm around her."

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The ten-minute Facetime call changed McCovey's mood and brought her a sense of "normalcy."

"Their teachers are an important part of their everyday life. The time that Mrs. Kikes took out of her day was just so nice," said Serena Richards, McCovey's Mother. "It was just a breath of fresh air to see the instant smile on McCovey's face."

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The Livermore Unified School District announced on Friday night, March 13th, that schools would close the following Monday.

"It's hard. I would have loved to say goodbye and to have some closure," said Kikes. "I hate being away from my students, it makes me really sad. I feel like I'm going to get choked up. At this point of the year, you feel like they're your children."

Richard and Kikes are working hard to adjust to the "new normal" and keep a smile for the children at this difficult moment.

"We're just trying to put our best foot forward," said Richards. "It has been a little overwhelming."

"Hoping it's over soon, I hate the idea of us being out the school year. I have no idea what this would look like for these kids."

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