Public school in Chula Vista among first in state to return to in-person learning

Public school in Chula Vista among first in state to return to in-person learning

7/22/2021 7:33:00 AM

Public school in Chula Vista among first in state to return to in-person learning

One of the first public schools in California has opened fully to in-person learning, a major milestone in the state's fight to return to normalcy.

AdvertisementThurmond said he was confident that masks, hand-washing and frequent testing of staff and students were enough to allow schools to reopen safely.Educators grapple with how to enforce California school mask mandate in the fallAfter initially mandating a ban on unmasked students on campus, the state is now leaving enforcement decisions up to local officials.

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With coronavirus cases soaring nationwide, school districts across the U.S. are navigating a tricky path forward amid mounting pressure to get kids back into classrooms full time this school year despite people’s growing fatigue of mask-wearing, vaccine rules and social distancing requirements.

California was one of the slowest states in the country to reopen its public schools after the pandemic forced millions into online learning for more than a year. When schools did reopen, most districts went to a hybrid model that had students go to class in person only a couple of days a week. headtopics.com

California public schools experienced a sharp decline in enrollment this year in part because many parents put their children in private schools that were offering in-person learning.Thurmond promised that public schools can come back even better if everyone does their part to keep kids in classrooms.

The California Department of Public Healthsaid all students and staff should wear masks, issuing a stricter order than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. The federal agency has said masks are necessary indoors only for those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday recommended universal masking in schools, even for those who are vaccinated.AdvertisementSome parent groups have protested California’s school mask requirement, and at least one has threatened to sue. Some districts say they will not enforce the rule, and the state has not indicated there will be penalties for those who ignore the order.

Thurmond commended the Chula Vista district’s safety measures, including making rapid coronavirus tests available to every student regularly. He said that is key until a vaccine is made available for children under 12, which could happen this fall.Staffing shortages, exhaustion, family vacations temper big summer-school hopes headtopics.com

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A $4.6-billion funding surge has allowed most California districts to open summer school and enrichment programs. But attendance is spotty.“Those are precautions that will keep us safe, and that will keep our schools open,” Thurmond told reporters after visiting the school.

AdvertisementThe desire to return to learning in person was on full display Wednesday. Of the roughly 1,000 students, some 952 signed up to return, Principal Debra McLaren said.“It’s exhilarating,” McLaren exclaimed, dancing to Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” blasting from speakers as students and their families posed for pictures in front of the school on a sunny morning.

Among them was 6-year-old Ethan, who proudly held a sign that introduced himself to his new school, which he did not have a chance to do in kindergarten because lessons were online.The sign listed the things he loved, including the Avengers, guava and reading.

AdvertisementRoxana Preciado said being required to wear a mask is a small sacrifice if it allows her daughter to go to school every day. Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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