A private school in Santa Maria is in the process of opening classrooms one day at a time after their waiver application was approved.
Pacific Christian has welcomed kindergarten, first, and second graders back into their classrooms after being approved by the county. The third through sixth graders are next and administrators say their main priority as they slowly start to welcome children back each day is their health and safety.
The school is welcoming different grade levels every day this week.
Principal Rick White says this process will make for a smoother transition.
"Very positive. We have safety concerns obviously because we want to make sure that it's done in a healthy way and that we're safe so that we're not spreading cases," White said.
Now, instead of 25 students per class, the school has about 16 students in each classroom, six feet apart.
Teachers are also required to wear face guards throughout the school day.
Some teachers are still teaching via Zoom, as well.
"We try to really provide a robust distance learning curriculum for them so we were Zooming three times a day and they had packet work too," said second-grade teacher Staci Patterson.
She says being able to go back into in-person instruction is irreplaceable.
"Being in-person allows relationships to build and classroom community that just can't be replaced with distance learning," Patterson said.
According to school officials, the third and fourth graders will return to campus Wednesday, and fifth and sixth graders will be back this Thursday.
Face masks will be mandatory for students in third grade through sixth grade.