The district gave parents three different options for how they wanted their children to learn this school year. The options include traditional in-person learning on campus, online learning and a home-based independent study option.
For the third option, parents would act as the teachers, similar to a home school model.
For those who chose the independent study option, a district teacher would be assigned to advise and monitor the student's progress through the school year. According to the district, schools are following state guidelines for such a program.
Parents get to create their own lesson plan and assign various projects and assignments. Students will turn in work samples and meet weekly with the assigned teacher advisor.
Tim Walker, deputy superintendent of the RUSD, says the majority of families opted for in-person learning.
"The number that are coming to school today is commensurate with other years on the first day of school," Walker added. "We are really looking forward to a large return of students to our campuses."
As for safety measures on campus, students will undergo temperature checks and will be required to wear masks indoors and in school buses.
Masks are not required when outside, as well as physical distancing - though it is encouraged.
"We have no mandatory vaccination unless that was put in place by the state. Our students 12 and above, we are offering occasional opportunities for...mobile clinics to come onto our high schools," Walker added. "It's a benefit for our families who may not have a lot of transportation."
At Harrison Elementary School in Riverside, the first day of school looked a little different than before.
"We always got to go into the class and meet the teacher... and this year, they stopped us at the gate, took their temperature and send them on their way," said parent Alysia Cruz. "She was a little upset that I didn't get to go into class with her and say goodbye and everything and it was a little upsetting for me."