Elementary school students to return to in-person learning full time in San Rafael

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Nearly 2,700 elementary school students will go back to class five days a week starting on Monday. It's happening in San Rafael, where 90% of the kids will do in-person learning only now that Marin County is in the orange tier.

Eight-year-old Rayner Maldonado is in 2nd grade and just learned this week that he'll go back to his San Rafael school for in-person learning only starting Monday.

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"I was excited," says Maldonado.

He's excited because, instead of half the day on the computer and half at school, all four-and-a-half hours each day will be in school, Monday through Friday.

"Elementary has been back since November for the AM/PM and we've had zero transmissions," says San Rafael City Schools Superintendent Jim Hogeboom. Hogeboom says 4 feet of social distance is their model and most classes will have between 20 and 25 students. There are some larger 4th and 5th grade classes that will be moved to other areas.

"Some of those are meeting in the library and some of them are expanding the rooms, so we're still trying to make sure kids are spread out and wearing masks," says Hogeboom.

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Nearly 90% of the district's 3,000 elementary school students will go to an all in-person schedule while others stay in distanced only classes.

Kaylan Sommers, featured in a recent ABC7 News special for his good smelling masks, will go back and his mother tells us he cannot wait, also telling us he's been playing too many video games and watching too much TV as she tries to work.
Maldonado says it's tough online.

"If I'm doing math, I can't see the answers and my teacher said it's harder to see the answers," says Maldonado.

Hogeboom says there have been nearly 20 COVID-19 cases among students but no virus spread at school. He says they've been preparing and are ready for Monday.

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"We had to order a couple hundred more desks and, now that the weather is getting nicer, meeting outdoors... that is a great way to do things as well," says Hogeboom.

As for the 10% who will not come back to class, they will continue doing distance learning through the end of the semester. Music and art classes will be offered to students on distance learning platforms as well.

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