SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN)– Some children in central Texas are getting a special visit from Santa this year.
He’s stopped by a pre-school class at Hays CISD’s Hemphill Elementary – as well as the entire school.
It’s all on Zoom. A new skill he was able to learn thanks to a helpful elf named Joann Zavala, who is also his wife.
“I’m also teaching from home, Zooming with my pre-k students. So, I’ve kind of become somewhat of an expert,” says Zavala, a bilingual teacher. “And then Santa came knocking on my door and said, ‘How do you Zoom?'”
Naturally, Zavala’s students became Santa’s first virtual classroom visit this month.
“You could see their smiles and how active and happy they were,” says Tony Martinez, a San Marcos-based Santa for about 15 years.
Santa sings songs with the kids and reads a book.
Sometimes, he even coordinates with parents to leave a present.
“When I’m finished reading the book, I let them know: ‘Oh, Santa left something at the door!’ Go check the door!’“
Santa is glad he’s been able to adapt to a new kind of Christmas, happening during a rough academic year for many students and teachers.
“They get anxious,” Zavala says. “Zooming can be hard on them. On everyone, because you’re sitting for a while.”
And although some things have changed, others have stayed very much the same.
“The love is still there, despite the way we’re communicating,” Zavala says.
“I’ll still be here, being a loving Santa, through any situation that we come through,” Santa says.
Martinez says his Zoom sessions are filling up but you can still reach out on Facebook or by emailing email@example.com. He says Zoom sessions with families are typically $25.