It may be mid-April, but Monday is back-to-school season -- at least back to school in person season -- for many students in San Diego County.
San Diego students in all grade levels across many districts will have the opportunity to return to campuses for in-person learning, at least a couple of days per week through the end of the school year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, safety measures will be in place for students and some still have the option to remain in distance learning mode.
Here's everything you need to know about the first day of in-person school for many students in San Diego County on April 12, 2021.
San Diego Unified School District
After many, many months of distance learning, San Diego Unified School District -- the largest school district in San Diego County and the second-largest in California -- will welcome students back to in-person learning on Monday.
Eager parents and students set their alarms early for the occasion, as they returned to drop-off areas that were familiar just a year ago.
“I’m looking forward to the kids going back to school," said Carlo Martinez, an Encanto resident who was dropping off his son. "He needs it. He’s excited, I’m excited so we’re looking forward to it."
SDUSD families had two options to choose from for these last two months of the 2020-2021 school year: continue with online learning or have their students take part in an onsite/ online hybrid model.
For the in-person, hybrid option, desks were seen spaced out in one classroom during a tour given last month. A device that monitors the room’s air quality was also seen. The social distancing and air quality monitoring are part of the school district’s effort to keep students, teachers and staff safe upon their in-person return.
“There are health and safety standards that have to be in place at every school,” said San Diego School Unified District president Richard Barrera. “That includes social distancing of students, that includes everybody wearing masks, that includes everybody being tested once every two weeks and the testing will take place here on campus, that includes regular cleaning of our classrooms. It very much includes…proper ventilation of the classrooms with monitoring of the air quality in our classrooms.”
To learn more about what to expect when returning to school at SDUSD, click here.
SDUSD students have just a little over nine weeks left of their school year; their last day of school is June 15.
SDUSD serves more than 121,000 students across 117 traditional elementary schools, nine K-8 schools, 24 traditional middle schools, 22 high schools, 49 charter schools, 13 atypical/ alternative schools, and 5 additional program sites.
San Ysidro School District
The San Ysidro School District will begin its Hybrid Learning Program. The program will offer either one day per week or two days per week of in-person learning depending on staffing availability. On March 19, parents were able to choose if they would like their child to participate in the program or continue with distance learning.
NBC 7 spoke with a parent, Leticia Varela, who says distance learning has forced her and other parents to become teachers and students themselves. Her two children will be returning to elementary school on April 13. Varela says students and teachers went through training to adapt to COVID-19 safety protocols.
"For me, I feel safe that my kids are returning and I also asked them how they felt and they said they are ready to go back to school," Varela said.
For more details on the San Ysidro School District's reopening plan, click here.
San Ysidro School District Students have nine weeks of school left in the 2020-2021 year; their final day of school is June 10.
Chula Vista Elementary School District
The Chula Vista Elementary School District will begin its in-person hybrid instruction model for students. Parents were able to choose between keeping students in distance learning for the remainder of the school year or move them to the in-person, hybrid model.
The hybrid model will be in-person instruction Monday through Thursday in a half-day cohort model. Friday will be distance learning only, the district says in their CVESD Reopening Playbook for Parents.
Desks will be spaced out six feet apart, a CVESD spokesperson said each classroom in the district will be equipped with an air purifier and hand sanitizer. Drinking fountains and jungle gym playground equipment will be off-limits. Teachers will oversee enforcing the new safety protocols in the classroom in addition to their normal teaching and discipline tasks.
Wolf Canyon Elementary School Principal Mathew Shy said he felt a "nervous excitement" about the large-scale return.
“I’m most looking forward to walking through classrooms and seeing the Timberwolves again," he told NBC 7.
The overall feeling in the air swirling at the school was that of excitement mixed with nervousness, just as Shy had described. Third-grader Matthew Guman said he was happy to physically be back in school and added, "but I’m nervous at the same time.”
Devon Morris, another 3rd grader, said he felt the same way.
"I’m a little nervous because I haven’t been to school in a year or so and I’m just happy that I get to see my teachers and some of my friends," he said.
Amy Morris, who was there to drop off her two sons at school, said her boys had the same sentiment.
“They were both saying they’re a little excited a little bit what--?”
"Nervous,” her two boys said, finishing her sentence.
Although happy her sons will be with their peers again, Morris said she couldn't help but feel a bit sentimental about their return.
"I feel emotional because I’ve had them with me, and I’ve actually loved it, and I feel like they’re safe with me," she said. "Everything that I think every parent feels. But on the other hand, I know that this is really important for them to get back and see their buds, which I know that they’ve missed and meet some new friends.”
To view a sample hybrid schedule for in-person learning in the CVESD, click here.
CVESD students have a little over nine weeks left of their school year; their last day is on June 15.
Sweetwater Union High School District
The Sweetwater Union High School District will be welcoming back some students back to campus. Students who will be attending in-person learning are seniors and students who fall under assembly bill 86. This includes students with disabilities, English language learners, foster and homeless students, students at risk of abuse or neglect, students lacking digital access, and disengaged students.
Dr. Moises Aguirre, SUHSD Interim Superintendent said a little over 5,000 students have confirmed the return to in-person learning. The rest of SUHSD students will continue in distance learning mode through the end of the school year.
The district will adhere to guidance from the California Department of Public Health
(CDPH), San Diego County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), County of San Diego
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and San Diego County Office of
There will be a space between seating and desks. All student and staff will be required to wear face coverings and there will be designated routes and protocol for entry and exit in classrooms.
For more details on SUHSD's reopening plan, click here.
Sweetwater Union High School District students have eight weeks of the 2020-2021 school year left; their last day of school is June 4.
Lakeside Union School District
The Lakeside Union School District in San Diego's East County welcome TK through 5th grade students enrolled in the district's hybrid model back to campuses for in-person learning on Monday, too.
Catch up on LUSD's plans here.
The last day of school for the 2020-2021 school year for LUSD students is on June 11.
Many other school districts in San Diego County have been running in-person learning through hybrid models for several months. For a list of local school districts, click here.