Students return to Philadelphia's Keystone Academy Charter School for first time in 13 months

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Students returned to Keystone Academy Charter School in Philadelphia's Tacony section on Wednesday for the first time in 13 months.

"I want to go to school," said Alan Guzman, a very excited 6-year-old.

Kindergarten through 5th-grade students returned to full-time in-person learning this week. Sixth through 8th-grade students start back next week.

"My teacher's so fun," said Alanis Guzman.

"I can do fun stuff in school, and there are science and math and reading," added student Olanide Sogbsan.

RELATED: School District of Philadelphia clears remaining 23 schools for hybrid learning

At the door, temperatures were checked before entry.

For the Kindergarten students that weren't in preschool, this is their first time in a classroom environment ever.

Parents were ready.

"They were excited to get back to school. They were up early," said mother Kathy Ares, who said virtual learning was toughest on her youngest child.

"It's a great day. I'm very, very excited," remarked father Larry Sogbsan.

Roughly 40% of the students have opted to remain virtual for now.

CEO Dr. Claudia Lyles explained she timed reopening for one week after spring break and two weeks after most teachers received their final dose of the vaccine.

They've worked hard behind the scenes.

"We've ordered desk shields. I've had to increase the nursing as well as the custodial staff," said Lyles. "We have put a lot of time, energy, thought, work, and preparation into having the children return."

She continued, "They are really happy. Parents are happy. The staff is happy."
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.