SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — Marin County is getting ready for the students to get back to school and the first step starts next week.

According to Marin County Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane Burke, come Monday a class will be in session at San Jose Middle School for a group of 12 kids.

“For some students, the distance learning approach is not working so we want to make sure we’re not setting up for a one size fits all as we look to the fall,” she told KPIX 5.

Many teachers want to be back in the classroom just like the students, but with the coronavirus pandemic, the question has been how is it all going to work.

The Marin County Office of Education came up with a pilot program to see what could possibly replace distance learning.

Burke said educators came up with a plan to open one classroom of 12 students next week. The class is for special education students, who have been desperately missing the care and connections they make with teachers and fellow students. When Cindy Evans heard about the program, she didn’t hesitate to volunteer to get back into the classroom.

“I had a phone call with one of the parents and she said to me I feel like a failure and she was teary eyed and at that point I said, I really really need to help,” said Cindy Evans, a special education teacher.

The pilot program is modeled after the pop-up childcare facilities that have been operating for eight weeks for children of essential workers.

The success of the program could dictate whether or not school will be open completely or if there will be a staggered schedule with a mix of in person and online classes.

It’s a work in progress and some teachers have their concerns.

“If you’ve got 12 kids on Monday and 12 on Tuesday, I’m still seeing both of them, I’m that piece that holds them together,” said Mariah Fisher, the President of the Novato Federation of Teachers. “They might as well be in the same room.”

Marin County is planning on holding summer school starting in late June with school opening in late August. Burke says the county is not ruling out to shifting to a year-round system to make up for time lost in the classroom.

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