By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Whether you were a student, a teacher or a principal, going to school during the coronavirus pandemic was a huge challenge in 2020.

Teachers were forced to think out of the box, principals had to communicate and students and parents had to be patient and resilient.

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“None of us expected this to occur, but we were able to adapt to it,” said Hialeah Gardens Senior High student Grace Ramirez, who had to grapple with the New Normal and not so normal thanks to COVID-19.

“Education had to take place regardless what was going on in the world. This was something we could not control,” said Hialeah Senior High Principal Maritiza Jimenez.

Teacher Vanessa Valle had to get creative.

“Being told you had to teach from a computer screen was quite an adjustment, but in teaching we learned to pick up and go and make things happen.”

A student, a teacher, the school principal, all reflect back over the year of school closures, school re-openings, learning from home, and hybrid teaching.

They all managed to make it work.

“We had a lot of communications coming from out superintendent insuring that safety was his first priority for our faculty, staff and especially the students,” said Jimenez.

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“They implemented social distancing, there are signs around school directing students to avoid any immediate contact,” added Ramirez.

All three remember when they first heard school was going to be a lot different.

“There was that initial shock. I didn’t think any of us to be online, virtual, no school,” said Ramirez.

Valle said, “It was totally not expected transition from us to shift from being in the building to being fully at home.”

Principal Jimenez recalled, “It was a shock at first. ‘Oh my god what happened? What’s going on?’ Instantly we met with our teachers. Communications was the utmost.”

Jimenez and Valle said whether kids were eventually back in the classroom or at home in front of a computer, students soldiered on.

“We could not favor one group over another. We had to make that learning take place regardless of where the student was at here or at home,” said Valle. “We as educators had to learn how to think out of the box. We have invested much more time than everyone before to think creatively and differently to make sure all our students get all they need.”

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While all three agreed that teachers were the superheroes of the school, they also credit a very resilient student body with the ability to pick up and move ahead.