back to school

Cajon Valley District Students Back in Classrooms

Wednesday was the first day students were allowed back inside their El Cajon schools

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Gloria Ochoa launched her head back and belted out a hearty laugh.

“I’m so happy,” Ochoa said after she dropped her kindergartener off for the first day of in-person learning at Rios Elementary School, in El Cajon.

Ochoa said her kids are crazy at home.

Rios Elementary and the rest of the schools in the Cajon Valley Union School District began welcoming students back to campus Wednesday.

“I’m definitely feeling nervous just because it’s new for everyone,” said fifth-grade teacher Taylor Cotton.

The district said parents are only allowed to drop their child off at a specific time in a grade-specific lane in the parking lot to avoid crowding. Children will be screened for coronavirus before they step a foot on campus.

“We’ll be practicing our procedures a lot over the first couple weeks,” Cotton said.

The CVUSD said students, teachers and staff will wear face masks while on campus and that they will also practice social distancing. The number of students in each classroom has been cut in half. since desks were spaced six feet apart.

“I really want the kids to be excited about coming back and to feel comfortable in the classroom and to be entertained, and not distracted about wearing their mask the whole day or being nervous about being around other people,” Cotton said.

“The place is very safe I think for my kids,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa and other parents with children attending CVUSD schools have a choice. They can send their kids back to school in person or the students can continue distance learning from home.

“It’s Ok if you want to stay with your kids at home,” Ochoa said. “It’s fine.”

“I think it’s crucial,” added Cotton. “I think everyone in the community is in a different place.”

Cajon Valley district officials said they had a successful trial run during a summer enrichment program.

“They already had the summer school, and everything was OK,” Ochoa said.

The district said no students, teachers or staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during the summer session.

The city of El Cajon, however, has the highest per capita coronavirus mortality rate in San Diego County. CVUSD officials said they will follow strict public health rules as they welcome students back to its 27 campuses.

“I’m really excited about just seeing human beings in real life,” Cotton said.

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