SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV) -- Some students were able to go through the old routine of taking a bus to school as in-person learning was back through a series of cohorts across the Salinas Union High School District system.
For Jarred McCallon, whose daughter attended the first sessions at Washington Middle School on Tuesday, this comes as a relief not just for him but his daughter.
"She's a social butterfly," said McCallon. "She gets a chance to come out here and be her best in interacting with others."
As it stands the district requires temperature checks when students arrive to campus. They'll also be given meals as the day progresses. Plexiglass barriers are also present in classrooms and other areas of campus where interaction is necessary.
Not to mention the mask requirement.
SUHSD Superintendent Dan Burns says the move to allow cohorts back for in-person learning is to slowly start helping students with little to no internet access or those who are struggling learning from home.
Burns says this first group was for students with unreliable internet service.
"I think the next phase as we move forward is bringing students back onto campuses so we can get them connected back to in person learning environment that we know is best for everybody," Burns said.
The district acknowledged having 25% of students who don't have quality internet service, which Burns says is around 3,500 to 4,000 students overall.
This cohort program is district-wide and voluntary. Burns says schools are beginning with small cohort groups which could get larger over the next few weeks.
Some schools in the district are offering to bring in multiple cohorts while others have decided on a single cohort.
Either way, the district says this is a step they felt comfortable with as they slowly start bringing students back to school.
"Even with their masks on you can see in their eyes that they're smiling knowing they're back at school," Burns said.
A smile that McCallon says his daughter definitely had as she was leaving school Tuesday.
"I could see it when she looked at me but she's pumped to be out here to see her friends," said McCallon. "There's only ten people here at a time, but that's more than none."