San Ramon Valley Unified School District welcomes some students back to campus

DANVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- Faculty at San Ramon Valley High School greeted students with cheers Tuesday morning as they headed into class for the first time since March. Parents say their kids seemed equally excited about returning to in-person learning.

"I just dropped off my daughter Hailey and she was so cooperative. I don't think I have seen her as cooperative in like 6 or 7 months. She brushed her teeth, did her hair, got dressed, ate breakfast, got a snack. I was like- it's like Christmas morning! It was great," said parent Brooke Wollesen, whose daughter has Down Syndrome. She says distance learning has been a struggle.

"There wasn't a whole lot of learning going on at home. It was really really tough. I might go do something nice for myself today," she said.

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Kermie Lopez-Stafford said she was elated to drop off her 6-year-old twin boys, who have not had the patience for distance learning.

"No way that they could sit still. I even got them the toddle chairs, I got them fidget tools so that they could stay at their desk- no. Everytime I turned around, which I thought I could work from home, and they would be wrestling!! Or doing something! It's a lot," she said.

This plan to allow small groups of kids who need extra attention back for in person learning was in place before the county was sent back to the purple tier in the state's re-opening plan. San Ramon Valley administrators decided to keep moving forward, even though counties in the purple tier are not to admit any more kids on campus. Parents and administrators say the students allowed to return Tuesday are English learners, special education or intervention- meaning they are struggling, not thriving.

"My two were picked because they have been falling behind with the literacy. They need the tactile and in person communication with their teacher that I can't provide," Lopez-Stafford said.

The district did not say how many students returned, but principals say it is a dozen or less on each campus.

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Parents say they realize the number of Covid cases are going up and that the county is in the purple zone, but decided it was important to get the kids to the classroom.

"We got an email from the special education superintendent lady and she comforted us and let us know they are still taking the precautions and safety and at this point we just have to go with it, going to try not to worry about it," Wollesen said.

The district's plan is to welcome back the rest of the student body population on a hybrid model in January.

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