50K students return to classrooms after a year of distance learning

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SAN DIEGO — Some 50,000 students were expected to head back to class Monday morning after more than a year of distance learning for some students.

Many students in the San Diego Unified School District have participated in virtual learning for the past 13 months amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They are among several districts finally welcoming students back to campus on Monday.

SDUSD Board President Richard Barrera joined the FOX 5 Morning News to detail what students will see on their first day. Parents will find an organized system for checking in and signing paperwork before students head inside schools. Parents are not allowed to accompany kids onto campus.

Other changes include new markings around schools to help students stay six feet apart and changes at lunchtime and recess. Barrera said students will eat lunch with their class but there won’t be the typical mixing of big groups at lunch or on the playground.

“Aside from some of those precautions, which we think students will get used to pretty quickly, it’ll be a pretty typical school day,” Barrera said. “The curriculum that students have been working on with their teachers all year will continue.”

Barrera said the district understands it’s been a stressful year for students. Wellness breaks and extra time for students to get to know each other and their teachers face-to-face are built into the school day, he said.

Students are required to wear masks all day, an adjustment Barrera expects to take some time for students to get used to. The first couple of days are expected to be full of reminders for the little ones.

Barrera confirmed SDUSD is sticking with six feet of distance between students. California recommends three feet of space between students in classrooms, in line with recent guidance from the CDC.

Others districts resuming in-person learning on Monday include Chula Vista Elementary School, Lakeside Union, San Dieguito Union High School and Sweetwater Union High School districts.

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