Saying goodbye: Hillsboro teachers don masks to celebrate students on their last day of school

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Posted: Friday, May 22, 2020 6:00 am | Updated: 7:27 am, Fri May 22, 2020.

Kael Matthys started tearing up before her first student finished cruising by. Matthys, a third-grade teacher, smiled and waved goodbye to a passing line of children and their parents along First Avenue Southeast on the last day of classes at Hillsboro Elementary School on Wednesday.

For Matthys and her peers, who were wearing masks and camped out in a row of lawn chairs, the parade marked the first time most teachers had seen their students since schools closed their doors March 13 in response to COVID-19.

“This isn’t how we wanted to wrap up the school year but we’re making the best of it. It’s definitely a year to remember,” said Matthys, a first-year teacher in the district.

Matthys tried to put a positive spin on how the school year unfolded for teachers.

The Hillsboro High School alum said distance learning prompted by the coronavirus pandemic forced her out of her comfort zone.

All the new apps and online teaching tools she relied on to engage students this spring could pay dividends next year, she said.

“The hardest part was making sure (technology) was available to every kid,” Matthys said. “But the school provided Chromebooks and iPads to kids and the parents were easy to communicate with. Everyone has been really understanding.”

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