It was back to school Tuesday for 9,000 students in the Vista Unified School District.
The district has been in the news the last few weeks leading up to students’ return because of controversy surrounding its reopening plan.
Following five hours of public comments and a discussion among the district’s board members last Thursday, school district leaders voted to continue with their plan and reopen campuses.
About half of the student population in the district opted for in-person learning while the other half chose to continue their education via distance learning.
Many students and parents NBC 7 heard from Tuesday were cautiously optimistic about the rest of the school year.
"It was good to see my friends and my teachers," Rancho Buena Vista junior D'laine Nakamoto said. "I feel that much more focused in class rather than on a computer screen."
Her mother Jolene Nakamoto, who's also a teacher in the district, said the first day back took a lot out of her.
"My voice is hoarse already and this is only day one. I am exhausted. I am exhausted," she said.
Jolene Nakamoto said her students were three to four feet apart in her class, and said there was a fan and an air purifier.
However, teaching with a face mask on was challenging.
"They can't even hear you and then when they go to speak you can't hear them," she said.
Jolene Nakamoto said this kind of classroom instruction is no better or worse then virtual learning, although she does say the kids seem in much higher spirits back in the classroom.
A statement from district superintendent Dr. Matt Doyle read in part, “Our health and safety measures were working well, with mask wearing and handwashing particularly strong on all campuses.”