Teachers in the Lompoc Unified School District will be able to see their students in-person once again after almost a year of distance learning.
La Honda Steam Academy staff say they are more than excited to meet and finally get to see some of their students face-to-face next Monday. They've been preparing for many months now and say they are ready to go.
Third-grade teacher Suzy Kingsley says she's been alone in her classroom for months now and is excited to see her students.
"Just being able to talk to them, and get to know them personally which you can't do when you are on the screen. I am really excited to meet them,” Kingsley said.
The Lompoc Unified School District is welcoming students back under a tiered system.
On Monday, grades TK through 1st will be on campus and each Monday after that, a new set of students will be allowed back.
Monday, March 8: TK-1st grade
Monday, March 15: 2nd-3rd grade
Monday, March 22: 4th-6th grade
"We have all missed seeing and hearing students on our campuses and so you can bet that come Monday we will be rolling out the red carpets for them,” said Interim Assistant Superintendent Doug Sorum.
New safety measures have been put into place since students were last in the classroom -- things like hand washing stations, hand sanitizer pumps, and HVAC ventilation systems.
Children will also be required to wear masks at all times. The first group of students will come in from 8 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. and the afternoon group will come in from noon until 2:30 p.m.
In between the groups, sanitation will be a priority.
"Just for us to be in the room and have conversations. Kids are kind of leery of having conversations on Zoom sometimes and I think it'll be much better for them to be in the room and actually see their classmates,” said Alisa Brown, third-grade teacher.
La Honda Principal Jessica Becerra adds distance learning will still be available for families who prefer that option.
"I think, overwhelmingly, we have missed our students. We have missed what they bring to our campus. They are excited to learn. They change the dynamic of our campus so much. They really give us our purpose for what we do day in and day out so it'll be nice to have live interaction with our family and students again,” Becerra said.
Similar plans, depending on the site, will be implemented at schools throughout the district.
When children are being dropped off, parents and family are not allowed onto campus, which was another safety measure put into place.
Teachers and staff within the district have been getting tested for COVID-19 routinely since last fall.