SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Locked gates, empty parking lots and closed doors have been the norm for teachers and staff in the San Juan Unified School District since the start of the pandemic.
“It’s a challenge for staff. Staff weren’t meant to teach via a computer,” explained SJUSD Superintendent of Schools Kent Kern. “They talk about how hard it’s been and how distanced learning is not what they want to do. They talk about how eager they are to get back to school.”
On Saturday, Kern told FOX40 that he is feeling a little more hopeful to be able to see his colleagues and students again.
They have partnered with Dignity Health and UC Davis Health to give district employees the first round of the Pfizer vaccine.
“We’re going to be able to vaccinate over 2,000 folks today. That’s huge not only for our school district but for our community,” Kern said.
“I personally want to go back to the classroom,” said El Camino Fundamental High School teacher David Manigart. “I miss seeing my students. I miss seeing them in front of me, interacting with them. So, you know, the sooner the better for teachers.”
Manigart was a volunteer during Saturday’s clinic. He said he’s excited to be getting vaccinated if it means being one step closer to getting back in his classroom.
“It’s a sense of relief and hopefulness, absolutely. I feel like another chapter is about to open,” Manigart said.
Kern said staff older than 65 and those working at Title I schools were prioritized for Saturday’s vaccinations, and while he waits for Sacramento County to be cleared for in-person learning, he urges everyone in his district to be patient.
“Don’t give up hope. I’m very hopeful that we are going to have students back in classes very soon,” Kern said.
Kern said the district has been planning for weeks on how to bring people back on campus for in-person learning.
When the district gets the green light, Kern said students will come back to class two days a week and will be able to interact with their teachers four days a week.