By Wilson Walker

HAYWARD (KPIX 5) — Park Elementary is one of four schools in Hayward that resumed classes Thursday. The district admits this is a work in progress. And no, it’s nothing like getting back to normal.

“This is definitely one for the books,” said parent Joel Carr. “It’s new for me. It’s new for them.”

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At the oldest year-round school in the country, just about everything was new on this first day of school, right down to the bags teacher Kendra Capen assembled for her students.

“My mom and I worked together to make them,” Capen explained. “To provide books to students before distanced learning.”

On Thursday, teachers were doing the curbside service part of educating amid a pandemic, introducing themselves to parents and students. Back to school does not yet mean back to campus here.

“I do miss the classroom,” one student lamented. “And friends.”

The district is still trying to get laptops into every home that needs one. That, of course, means more homework for parents.

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“It’s going to be challenging,” said parent Corinna Martinez. “I have four, so just teaching them all at different paces.”

Teachers have also been scrambling to get themselves more prepared.

“I wasn’t ready with technology, how to use Zoom, how to use Google classroom,” teacher Argelia Ramos said of the onset of the pandemic in March.

So the summer break was an opportunity to adjust and, hopefully, better manage remote learning until the classrooms are reopened.

“Here is day one, but I feel the district is also more prepared,” said Ramos. “We didn’t know what to do at the end of the year last year. Now I feel the district has been working on putting things together. It’s not going to be perfect, and I don’t expect it to be perfect, because we’re learning along the way.”

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The rest of the Hayward school system, which operates on a semester schedule, will resume classes next month, also with distanced learning. However, the district is making preparations for a possible return to the classrooms, if and when that is possible.