"I feel wonderful. This has been like a dream come true," said Maelene Lintz as she stood in line for her kids to receive a health screening outside of Bret Harte Elementary School before they headed in to class.
Marquez Boyd said his second grader was doing ok with distance learning but needed to be back in the classroom to see his peers.
"It's more for him to be sociable, he had been missing interacting with kids. Only going to the park a couple hours a day isn't enough," Boyd said.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed is greeting students this morning on their first day back to class in more than a year. 22 of the district’s 64 elementary schools are opening today. pic.twitter.com/YdGnm38LLq— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) April 12, 2021
SFUSD's Superintendent and San Francisco's Mayor greeted kids outside Bret Harte Elementary in San Francisco's Bayview District.
"I am really happy for them. I am happy for their future," said Mayor London Breed.
"It's just the beginning. I want us to be in a better place, to do more and let more kids be allowed here. But this is better than it was, so I am going to appreciate this moment," she said.
Bret Harte will welcome back 4th and 5th graders next week. The superintendent said more schools will open this month.
RELATED: Oakland schools return to in-person learning for 1st time since pandemic began
"Today, we started with 22 schools. By end of this month it will be 107, 22,000 students. So your time is coming, if you are elementary," Superintendent Vincent Matthews said.
Only a few middle and high school students will return to the classroom this school year.
"For middle and high schools, our focal groups are returning on April 26. Our focal groups include our moderate and severe special education, our homeless and foster youth, and students we have struggled to engage. We are still looking at the possibility of getting one grade level back but for most middle and high school it will be the Fall," Matthews said.
The Mayor said she will keep pushing for more students to return.
RELATED: Distance learning hurt elementary school students' reading skills, Stanford study shows
"Over 50% of our residents have been vaccinated, at least with their first dose. Over 85% over 75 have been vaccinated. We are in a really good place. So at this point, there really is no reason we can't open our schools safely," Mayor Breed said.
The moms who did get to send their kids off agree that it is time, saying being at home is just not the same.
"They've been out of school for too long. These are the sponge years. They need to learn and I am not a teacher, I am just a mom," Lintz said.
The principal at Bret Harte said about 80% of students chose to return to class rather than continue distance learning.
VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine
Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window.
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Map shows which counties can, can't reopen under reopening tiers
- Cheat sheet: What you can and can't do after being fully vaccinated
- CA COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: See your status here
- These CA counties are way ahead in vaccinations
- How to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in every Bay Area county
- Map shows everywhere you can get a COVID-19 test in the Bay Area
- Interactive map shows what's closed and what's reopening in the San Francisco Bay Area
- Data tracker: Coronavirus cases, deaths, hospitalizations in every Bay Area county
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during pandemic
- Get the latest updates on California EDD, stimulus checks, unemployment benefits
- Coronavirus origin: Where did COVID-19 come from?
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic