Some Placer County students return to school with hybrid learning, COVID-19 safety restrictions

Local News

ROCKLIN, Calif. (KTXL) — Some schools in Placer County welcomed back students Monday as they kicked off hybrid learning.

In the Rocklin Unified School District, students will be back on campus half the time and continue distance learning the rest of the week with restrictions.

However, there won’t be any drinking at water fountains, basketballs on the court during gym class or students sitting where they want at lunch.

At Spring View Middle School in Rocklin, the list of do’s and don’ts is long but the new rules on campus are a must to ensure safety in the age of coronavirus, according to school officials.

“So far, after the first day, we feel really good about our protocols,” principal Scott Collins told FOX40.

Half the school’s students walked the halls for the first week of hybrid learning with students sitting one child to a row in classrooms.

Arrows on the ground show them how far to separate from one other and before they enter any room, they must disinfect at one of the school’s dozens of hand sanitizing stations.

“It’s a heavy life for teachers. We’re reinventing education, again,” Collins explained. “The partner work that we love to do, the group work that we love to do, the interactions with people sitting closely working together, we can’t do it the same way anymore. We have to space them out in the rooms and safety comes first.”

Collins said under this new teaching model, instructors have to reach students differently. They must educate while wearing a mask and take on double duty with partial in-class instruction and virtual lesson plans. 

But spending half the week in class beats no interaction at all, Collins said.

“Kids staring at a screen is not great for kids. Obviously, kids and whoever getting sick is also no good,” Collins said. “And so, you’re trying to always have that balance. But we’re trying to provide the best education we possibly can under the circumstances we find ourselves.”

Some students who recently resumed classes in Placer County agreed, even though the restrictions present a new set of challenges.

“This is better than nothing,” said Placer County student Isaac Harp. “It’s just hard having to breathe through this (mask). Or like that or like the big barriers they have because you have to sit in plastic barriers around your desk so that you’re not interacting with other people.”

Placer County father Anthony Scarpelli told FOX40 he’s watched his son struggle socially while learning entirely at home. 

“We are so glad he’s back part-time at least. You can tell a difference in their personality as far as being bored at home, by themselves and not being able to get out there and two months ago, it hit pretty hard,” Scarpelli said.

He said he thinks a hybrid model strikes the right balance between student education and safety. 

“I think we should all follow suit and get back to school as soon as possible and get everyone back where they need to be,” Scarpelli said.

District officials told FOX40 that classrooms at Rocklin Unified schools will be disinfected daily. If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the school will begin contact tracing, making everyone who came in close contact with that student quarantine for two weeks at home.

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