Bay Area schools are ready to welcome students back to in-person learning

With the opening of many Bay Area schools less than two weeks away, in some cases, it's back to in-person classrooms for the first time in almost 18 months.

One parent of an Oakland second grader is thrilled. The first day there is August 9th.

"Excited for her to be back in the classroom. With her teacher in person and fellow students," said Will Sheldon, whose daughter will be attending Chabot Elementary School. 

There will be one key difference between now and pre-pandemic. Students, teachers, or anyone who enters a school in California will be required to wear a mask. 

"We will be really keen about our safety protocols and implement that to make sure our students and families feel safe," said Gabriela Lopez, president of the San Francisco Unified School District Board Of Education

I've accepted it. But if it was up to me I'd be ok with my daughter not wearing a mask inside," said Sheldon.

Vaccines are encouraged. But they are not required to gain entry. Vaccines are not available for students under age 12.

Some districts, including San Jose Unified, are requiring regular COVID testing of any staff or teachers who are not vaccinated. 

School districts will have air purifiers in classrooms and cleaning protocols that were in place last school year will remain.

"We have definitely instituted more stringent cleaning procedures, disinfectant procedures than existed before the pandemic. No question," said John Sasaki, spokesman for the Oakland School District.

"We no longer have to worry about physical distancing. We no longer have to worry about masks outside, we will follow the appropriate guidelines as we always would," said John Malloy,

Superintendent of the San Ramon Valley Unified School district.

But distance learning is still being offered as a separate independent study program.

Only a few hundred students in each of the districts KTVU surveyed are choosing that option.

The rest plan to come to class.

"Even if it is with masks it will be different in that way. Everything else will be what it was. And we are so excited to welcome our students," said Lopez.