SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) Monday marks the first day of hybrid learning for Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten students in Santa Cruz City Schools.
Under the hybrid model, students will attend in-person classes two days a week and learn online at home for the remaining three days.
Over the next few weeks, more grade levels will start returning for a couple days of in-person instruction. Grades 1-5 will be back on March 22 and 6-12 on April 5, after Spring Break.
More than 90 percent of parents were on board with the transition back into the classroom, according to Santa Cruz City Schools Superintendent Kris Munro.
“It filled my heart to walk through classrooms today and see the students there in person. To see my staff in person,” Munro said.
Kindergarteners are back in the classroom at Gault Elementary after about a year of distance learning. This first day of school brought on a lot of emotions for Meg Finn, or Teacher Meg, as students call her.
“A lot of anticipation, a lot of excitement, a lot of nerves. I had a really hard time sleeping at night, but when the children were all together, it made it all worth it,” Finn said.
More grade levels will return in the coming weeks, but it won’t be 100 percent back to normal.
Superintendent Munro told KION all students are required to wear masks. The district is also more frequently disinfecting around campuses and updating its HVAC system.
“We are seeing this as the next phase in moving forward to daily instruction for students,” Munro said.
President Casey Carlson of the Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers, the union that represents SCCS teachers and staff, said while teachers are excited about the return, there is some nervousness.
“We have teachers who are recovering from cancer and teachers who are pregnant and so those teachers with other health concerns are more concerned about going back,” Carlson said.
Vaccines were a top priority for the union before returning. Carlson said a vast majority of teachers and staff are vaccinated but some have chosen not to.
Teachers are not required to get vaccines before returning to the classroom.
Santa Cruz PD is reminding drivers to keep safety in mind as more students return to the classroom. They’ll have additional patrols around schools.