Students, parents excited for return to schools allowed to reopen early

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SAN DIEGO — Nearly 20 elementary schools in San Diego County have been approved to reopen early, and families that have decided to send their students back to the classroom are feeling excited.

The Rock Academy in Point Loma is one of the newly approved campuses, set to start in-person learning on Aug. 31. It was one of 92 area schools to apply for the early-return waiver. 

Desks spaced 6 feet apart and hand sanitizer stations are just some of the safety measures that will greet students on an unusual first day of school.

“It feels OK,” student Jeremiah Welch told FOX 5. “I can deal with it. I’m still able to see my friends.”

For his mother Angela, who has had to make distance-learning work with her four children, the safety measures at the Rock Academy put her mind at ease.

“It’s just really good (to be back), emotional, and to have them with their friends in an environment. To see their teachers is really good, and to have the structure,” Welch said.

The Rock Academy set up their classrooms to abide by state and county regulations, which will include extensive cleaning and using facial coverings. They will also keep students in groups of no more than 12, which will stay together all day long.

“They’ll do recess together,” The Rock Academy Director Chuck Leslie explained. “They’ll do lunch together. They’ll go to the STEM lab together and they won’t interact with other groups, so that if there is an infection in that group, it hopefully will be maintained and not spread throughout the entire school.”

They are also allowing distance learning to continue for families who may be hesitant to return. But Angela and Jeremiah are looking forward to the first day of school in person.

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