At Ernest Righetti High School in Santa Maria, incoming freshmen gathered Wednesday morning for orientation ahead of the school year's start.
Over 650 incoming 9th grade students came out for the Aug. 4 event, which included a campus tour, picture day and an information session. Students received their class schedule and school IDs.
The day marks a comeback for the school after a school year marked by COVID-19 restrictions. Staff members say they want to make sure students are emotionally and physically safe.
Eric Blanco, a counselor at the high school, looks ahead to the positive changes the return will bring.
"A big part of what I think they missed last year was that access to clubs and sports and activities," he said. "Being able to get back that will definitely help boost their emotions, their energy level and engagement at school."
Eddie Munoz, a senior at the high school, is also looking ahead to the return.
"We finally get to come back and get into the flow," Munoz said, "but I am really nervous about COVID coming back."
He thinks that if they take the right precautions, the school won't have to shut down again.
Ernest Righetti High School's first day of school is Aug. 12.