Dozens of Students With Special Needs Head Back to School in Poway

Thursday was the first day of school for students in the Transition Program at Abraxas High School in Poway

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It was back-to-school on Thursday -- in-person -- for dozens of students at Abraxas High School in Poway.

The students are part of the Transition Program, which serves young adults with developmental disabilities.

Angie Bitsko said she was excited to drop her son Jared off for his first day of school in the morning.

The 21-year-old has Down Syndrome.

“Not being in school for the past several months has been hard, because he doesn’t quite understand what’s going on and he doesn’t understand why he can’t come to school and see his friends and his teacher,” Bitsko said.

Bitsko, who is a teacher herself, said it was hard on her family as well.

“We did the best we could, but nothing can really replace what his teachers can provide for him," she said.

Bitsko told NBC 7 the school has communicated with them every step of the way about the new health and safety protocols they've put in place.

The Poway Unified School District said those protocols include regular sanitation of door handles, counters, toys, games and classroom supplies and hand washing, and sanitizing at the school entrance.

Face coverings are required for all teachers and staff. In a statement, the district said it "understands that some students may not be able to wear a mask for medical reasons or due to a disability, and are encouraging those who are able to wear a facial covering to do so when physical distancing is not practicable."

Bitsko said she feels comfortable with the safety measures they've put in place.

"I really have faith in the fact that he won’t catch the virus here. That they’re doing everything they can to protect him. So that kind of puts my heart at ease. And just seeing him happy, that’s the real relief,” she said.

Abraxas also has a Diploma Program, for students who need a more non-traditional learning structure. It will start-up again next Monday, with a mostly virtual curriculum.    

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