'I'm going back to school!': San Francisco Unified students react as full in-person learning starts

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Monday San Francisco public schools will open for in-person learning for the first time in 17 months.

The San Francisco Unified School District is the largest in the entire Bay Area and Monday students there will go back to class. Sunday night the Halls at Dr. William Cobb Elementary in San Francisco were quiet and clear, but the social distancing markers are down on the ground, and kids are ready to go.

"I'm going back to school," says 9-year-old Zoe Ali.

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"I got all the things I need to be ready with," says 8-year-old Jayden Xial.

While parents have their opinions about the start of in-person learning in San Francisco.

"Do I feel comfortable? That's a very good question. I guess we feel comfortable enough right, I think that's what it is," says Rene Hinojosa whose son will go back on Monday.

"To be honest with you I don't think it's a good idea," says Priscilla Ochoa. Ochoa has a newborn baby and has decided to keep her two kids home this year.

Kids also have their opinions.

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"I am very excited to see my friends again," says Xial.

"I'm kind of nervous but kind of happy at the same time," says Matthew Ali who will be a 6th grader.

"I feel nervous for the fact that it might be a little risky with the Delta variant out there but I'm also excited to see my friends and go back to school," says 11-year-old Ryan Hinojosa.

Friday district administrators toured a San Francisco school to show us what classrooms will look like. We saw windows that open, air purifiers, hand sanitizer, reminders to follow the safety plan, and of course, masks for teachers and students. The Health Department says San Francisco schools are safe.

"During the last academic year, out of the 48,000 students that were in school both private, public and charter, there were only seven documented cases of in-school transmission," says San Francisco Deputy Director of Health Dr. Naveena Bobba.

RELATED: How masks impact the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant in a classroom

And this year the district is requiring that teachers and school staff be vaccinated by September 7, or take weekly COVID-19 tests

One thing is clear. Students we talked with may be small, but they have strong feelings about last school year and this one that begins Monday.

"Like I said, staring at a computer screen and listening to the teacher speak isn't the full definition of what I call educating so I think going back to in person school would be better," says Ryan Hinojosa.

"Online there is not that much stuff you can do and at school there is recess and everything. Looking forward to a good class, like a good teacher, no bullies, nothing," says Matthew Ali.

And the celebration will start early Monday as the San Francisco Mayor London Breed and State Senator Scott Wiener will be at an elementary school in the Bayview District welcoming students back.

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