Betty Plasencia Elementary School in L.A. welcomed back teachers to campus Monday, with students returning for in-person classes Tuesday.
"It is so wonderful and exciting to be reopening after over a year of being away," said Gema Linares, the school's principal.
Classes has been online since last March and the school expects only about a third of all students to return to the physical classroom. Many families have opted to continue distance learning.
"We started with a very small number of students, we have over 233 students coming back so it's very exciting to know our students feel safe and they're ready to come back," said Principal Linares.
However, there are some disparities between communities coming back to school.
According to a LAUSD parent survey on April 11, about 65% of students living in West L.A. are expected to return to school, about 49% in Westchester and 48% in Woodland Hills. That's compared to areas harder-hit by the virus, such as South Gate, south Mid-City and Wilmington, where just 24-26% of students are expected to return.
Superintendent Austin Beutner says it will take time for these communities to feel confident in going back to school.
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"It's going to take time for the school communities we serve to heal," he added. "So we want to make sure that they're going to be safe, their children will be safe, the families will be safe. We're providing COVID testing, vaccinations for school families - everything we can do to help make sure that path to recovery is a sustainable one."
Beutner also said in a morning press conference Monday that the district will continue to roll out the opening of 25 school-based vaccination sites to provide vaccines to communities that struggle with access to health care.
Middle and high school students are expected to start returning to campus later this month.