After more than a year, LAUSD welcomes back second and third graders to campus

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- After more than a year of remote learning, second and third grade students returned to Los Angeles Unified campuses Wednesday.

The district is taking a phased approach to reopening its schools, starting with the youngest students. On Tuesday, kindergarten and first grade students were welcomed back at 72 schools.

On Thursday, fourth and fifth graders will return, with the district's remaining elementary schools reopening next week. Middle and high schools will be the last to welcome back students during the last week of April.

At Warner Avenue School in Westwood, excited staff and teachers prepared for the big welcome by setting up a display of balloons and signs at the campus entrance.

LAUSD parents thanked Superintendent Austin Beutner for his efforts in getting students back.

"I really think you guys have done your best to come up with all the scenarios that could happen and try to protect everybody as much as you can because nobody wants it to go back,", said Darlin Setoudeh.

On Tuesday, Beutner said the overall return rate for elementary school students was at 40%. Many families have opted to continue with remote learning for now, despite safety standards put in place, including mask wearing and physical distancing.

All students who return to campus for in-person learning must receive COVID-19 test the week prior to their school opening.

He also said the news to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine will not impact the 25 LAUSD family vaccine sites as they only administer the Pfizer and Moderna shots.

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For the first time in more than a year, some Los Angeles Unified schools reopened for in-person classes Tuesday.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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