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Poway Educators: Students Are Safe, Happier In First Week Of In-Person Instruction

The Poway Unified School District's main office.

Photo by Andi Dukleth

Above: The Poway Unified School District's main office.

Several school districts across the county resumed some form of in-person instruction this week. Poway Unified started having their elementary school students on campus for half-day sessions. Teachers say that, so far, they’ve seen a huge improvement in their students.

“They are so happy to be back on campus. I’m so happy to have them on campus,” said Naomi Lukaszewski, a transitional kindergarten and kindergarten teacher at Pomerado Elementary School. “A school without children is kind of sad actually because it’s too quiet.”

Listen to this story by Joe Hong.

RELATED: Vaccine Delays And High Case Rates Diminish Hopes For School Reopenings

“I’ve noticed here they’re much more engaged. I’m getting much more response, they’re talking to me, they’re talking to each other,” said Lukaszewski, who teaches morning and afternoon sessions on campus. “Towards the end of virtual, it was crickets sometimes.”

Lukaszewski said even her youngest students are following all the safety procedures. They’re washing their hands regularly and maintaining social distance.

The district had delayed the reopening to Feb. 1 after case numbers surged during the winter holiday. With case numbers in San Diego County slowly declining and with safety procedures in place, district officials say they hope to be able to keep campuses open.

Reported by Joe Hong , Video by Photographer Guillermo Sevilla

“We’ve been successful in not having any transmission on campus, and so we wanted to make sure we weren’t getting relaxed in the protocols of physical distancing, making sure desks were six feet apart, even if kids sit on the carpet they should be six feet apart,” said Carol Osborne, the associate superintendent of learning support at Poway Unified.

RELATED: COVID-19 Cases Drop At UC San Diego After Post-Holiday Surge

Osborne said the district cannot reopen middle and high schools until the county enters the red tier for COVID-19 case rates.

Coronado’s middle and high school also reopened for in-person learning this week, as did Escondido Union School District, where more than 100 students and employees have been quarantined. Districts officials have said these case numbers were expected.


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