back to school

Back to School: Thousands of South Bay Students Make Physical Return to Class

Students who didn't yet feel comfortable returning to class were given the option to continue their studies online

NBC Universal, Inc.

Thousands of children in San Diego’s South Bay have returned to the classroom after a brief break, and for many it’s their first time back on campus since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hundreds of schools shuttered one by one in 2020 and switched to virtual learning in 2020 as the virus spread worldwide. Notebooks were traded for laptops, textbooks were traded for tablets and recess, a cherished childhood pastime, was traded for independent time at home.

NBC 7’s Joe Little was inside Vista Square Elementary on Wednesday, where the biggest problem was hearing the voices of some of the shyer students.

Chula Vista Elementary School and Sweetwater Union High School Districts reopened their campuses Tuesday for the first day of year-round school. For many, returning to class physically was a welcomed change.

To celebrate the occasion, teachers and staff at one local school made sure their students got a warm and loud welcome when they showed up to class.

“I’ve been here for the last year and a half and to see it empty was really sad. So, I’m excited to have them on campus,” said Easter Finley, principal of Eastlake Middle School.

Despite the overall swirl of excitement, the change in switching gears from distance learning to going back to class did make some students nervous, they admitted.

“Being in a new, big school,” seventh-grader Aaden Cervantes said of what makes him a bit apprehensive of physically returning to class. “This is way bigger than my old school.”

Evie Boyd, a fellow eighth-grader, told NBC 7 she feels the same.

“I don't really know, I guess it’s just a new place for me,” she said.

Face coverings are required for students, staff and faculty at all Sweetwater Union High School District campuses, despite vaccination status.

Students who didn’t yet feel comfortable being back at school in person were given the option to continue distance learning by enrolling in Launch Academy, the district’s virtual independent study school.

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