There were some challenges with virtual learning on the first day back to school for San Diego Unified School District students, but for the most part families said the day went smoothly and they are expecting a good year.
Noah Gardinera's first day of 9th grade at Scripps Ranch High School was “weird but productive,” according to his dad Marlon Gardinera.
“The first day is normally new outfits, a picture to memorialize the first day, and sending kids off,” he explained. “In this case, he rolled out of bed, went to his desk and was in school.”
Gardinera said the first day was productive because his son met with all his teachers and got started on the district’s modules to help students navigate online learning.
Kaylin Byrnes is a 7th grader at Marshall Middle School. Her mother bets that Kaylin prefers school on campus, but said at least the distance learning is more organized this time around compared to last spring.
Kathy Arthur's daughter Kaia, a 5th grader at La Jolla Elementary School, had no problems getting on Zoom, but her daughter Coco did. Coco is a 6th grader at Muirlands Middle School, and despite being organized and prepared, she could not log on. Coco and her mother had to drive to the school for help.
“There were several other students who were unable to log on, too, but they were very helpful, and it took about 10 minutes and she got in," Arthur said.
Still it was a bit nerve-racking for Coco, who is organized and conscientious.
“Not nervous, but kind of that feeling, because I didn’t want to miss out on getting to know other students and hearing what work we had to do," Kaia said, explaining the thought of potentially missing out on the first day of school.
Kaia said there was an hour block dedicated to students getting to learn about each other, “like a normal first day of school.”
These families told NBC 7 they are hoping to get back to in-person learning as soon as possible. San Diego Unified is bringing back students slowly in phases.
The most vulnerable students will be brought back first. That includes elementary school students who have special needs, are homeless, those in foster care, or those struggling with learning at home. Elementary students will go next, followed by middle and then high school students, if it’s safe to do so. An exact timeline has not been established.