SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento City Unified School District welcomed its youngest students back on campus Thursday.
“I felt like I was in a time warp. This is what we usually do in August,” SCUSD Superintendent Jorge Aguilar told FOX40, as the students walked onto their campus of John Cabrillo Elementary School for the first time.
“You can see it in the students. They’re just so excited to be in space with one another,” he continued. “They’ve missed each other for so many, many months, and in some cases, our students haven’t been on our sites.”
This week, SCUSD welcomed back kindergarten through third grade students.
Grades four through six will return to the classroom on April 15, when the state is set to open COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone age 16 and older.
Seventh to twelfth graders will be allowed back on campus starting April 22.
These are some of the last students to return to in-person learning in all of Sacramento County, but Aguilar said the district took its time to make sure safety was the top priority.
“We’ve taken this very, very seriously. We’ve had an amazing and talented group of staff that have worked hours, countless hours, over the weekends to prepare for this day,” Aguilar said.
Each student had their temperature checked and hands sanitized before walking onto campus. The school also had masks on hand for students who showed up not wearing their own.
Students will be broken up into two groups, with Group A attending classes Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while Group B attends Thursdays and Fridays.
But even with safety measures in place, officials said nearly half of all students in this district will remain on a distance learning model for the last 10 weeks of the school year.
“There’s only 10 weeks left for the remainder of the school year, and what I’ve said is every minute that would go by without being able to have our students in front of their teachers and engaged with their peers as well. I mean, those are all things that are important in the overall academic and social-emotional well being of our students,” Aguilar said.
He added that there’s no substitute for in-person learning and that Thursday marks a big milestone in the Sacramento community.
“I think these are moments where everybody just comes together in the best interest of our students and I’m seeing that throughout our sites,” Aguilar continued.
The SCUSD has also invested in new technology, like three-in-one cameras to help teachers instruct online and in-person at the same time.