3 Bay Area districts welcome students back to schools

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Three Bay Area districts welcomed kids back to school Monday. West Contra Costa County schools, East Side Union High School District in Santa Clara County and TK through fifth grade in South San Francisco all opened for the first time in more than a year.

All of the schools have their own set of safety protocols in place, ranging from regular COVID-19 testing to using a disinfection unit with ultraviolet rays to sanitize the classrooms.

At Tara Hills Elementary School in San Pablo, parents were adjusting to a new COVID-19 rule that states parents must remain in the car.

"Most of them are wanting to get out of their cars, most of them are used to walking their kids at least to the front door or to the classroom door. But no parents are going to be allowed on campus this year, so it's kind of hard for them," said yard supervisor Takashia Harkins.

She now greets the kids at the car and takes their temperature, something she never thought would be part of her duties as yard supervisor. But she doesn't mind it -- she's just happy to see the kids again.

"I am excited, very excited. It's been a long time coming. I didn't think it was coming. But we've made it and I am glad we are back," she said.

Parent we talked to are happy to see this day, too.

"It's nice that they are going to be here with their teachers they have only seen online all year," said Maria Mendez.

Some parents noticed as they prepared their kids for school that learning from home has created some new habits that will need to be broken.

"Waking up was OK, she was excited. The whole getting to bed early now? That's what is going to be a problem," said Michael Shamsid-Deen, laughing.

Parents could choose to keep their kids at home and continue with distance learning. But even with social distancing and masks, parents who brought their kids to school think the human contact is important.

"I think it will enhance his academics and the socialization. Even though they can't be close to each other, they will still get to socialize with their teacher and interact and that's so important," Mendez said.

The principal said 145 students out of the 427 enrolled at the school decided to return for in-person learning, about 29%.

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