OAKLAND (CBS SF) — School bells will be ringing once again at BayTech Charter Monday morning, marking the start of a new academic year and ushering in the COVID era of full-time, in-class instruction.
For most of the last 16 months, students of the East Oakland school have been forced to attend classes remotely as a precaution during the pandemic. But on Monday, they will be among the first in the Bay Area to return to the classrooms for the 2021-2020 academic year with plenty of COVID safety precautions in place.READ MORE: UPDATE: Many in East Bay Still Without Power
Hand-sanitizing stations and air purifiers have been installed throughout the campus.
The return has faculty members and students of the school excited.
“Absolutely excited,” said Principal Cesley Frost. “We are thrilled to welcome our students, staff and community back. We have been planning for over a year. We are very excited this morning.”
Frost said several precautions will be in place to protect the more than 300 students at the school from COVID exposure.
“We have hand washing stations throughout our campus,” she said. “We have beautified some outdoors spaces so we can have classes and meeting outside. You will see students will follow a block schedule this year so we are not transiting classes as often.”
Students will also have their pre-pandemic class schedules altered.READ MORE: Menlo Park Man Stabbed at Party
“They will have maybe 4 or 5 classes a day rather than 8 or 9 classes,” Frost said.
They also limited the number of class blocks for students.
“Teachers are encouraged to take the classroom outside of the classroom and not be limited to just the four walls,” explained Frost.
11-year-old 6th Grade student William Beverly was happy to return to the classroom after over a year of online learning.
“I didn’t really like it because sometimes I’d be on the computer, and it would lag a lot and I really didn’t get a lot of attention, he explained. “I get to meet more people and be social again instead of being in the house all day, interact more. Even though it’s still COVID. I just keep my mask on.”
Teachers will also be using “restorative return” practices to get students readjusted to learning in a classroom and not from home.
“Staff went through some trauma-informed training this week, just to remind ourselves to listen to our bodies and to listen to ourselves and how to respond appropriately to each other,” said Frost.MORE NEWS: One Dead, Three Wounded In Early Sunday Morning Shooting In Oakland's Uptown Neighborhood
The 80 public schools in Oakland were scheduled to reopen to in-class learning on Aug. 9.