Pleasanton middle, high school students return to classrooms

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- Middle and high school students in Pleasanton returned to the classroom Thursday for the first time in a year. The school district is the first in Alameda County to open up schools to older kids. Pleasanton elementary schools opened last week.

"I think it's not about being first, it's about being there for kids and we were able to get our ducks in a row, so to speak," said Superintendent David Haglund.

Haglund is now getting calls from school districts across the state looking at him as an example.

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"I was talking to a board member from Southern California last night and my response to her question was- it's about the village. If the village gets together and works together, we can make things happen. But it does take everybody," he said.

Haglund says 35% of Foothill students decided to return to class. They split that 35% into two groups. One group is at home on Zoom while the other group is in class with room to spread out.

The other students selected to stay at home full time.

"Everybody is looking at how we can make this happen and I think for the same reason- we want to do right by our students," Haglund said.

RELATED: Chronic absences spike at Oakland school as students struggle to stay motivated during distance learning

Some parents waved pompons and cheered as kids arrived at school.

"We want them to feel excited, to get that first day out of the way and not feel nervous," said parent Samantha Thomas.

Students say they felt the love.

"I like it, personally. I feel like some kids might think it's cringy, but I like it," said Sophomore Micah Parks.

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Students will be on campus for 8-10 hours a week, depending on their class load. Senior Kendall Witters is grateful for that time.

"Even if we did miss out on a lot, it is nice to be on campus to finish out our last year," she said.

Haglund says the advice he has given the 20 superintendents who have called him with questions is to engage all stakeholders effectively and often in the conversation, make sure to ask the health department a lot of questions so you know what you can and can't do and what you should do and finally make sure you are paying attention to the needs of your staff.


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