Parents embrace back-to-school preps minus mandatory COVID restrictions

The first week of August isn’t over, and for some, it’s already the end of summer.

"Surprised because it went by so fast. Like in the blink of an eye it was here," said parent Rosa Soto.

The calendar, for some, says it’s time to trek to area stores for supplies for the coming school year. This year, the search for needed items includes finding answers to questions concerning COVID protocols.

"I’m sending my child with a mask. He’s into masks for school," said parent Michelle Bredot, whose son is a Lincoln High School junior.

This year’s new lessons begin with familiar ones. Masking is still encouraged in most districts, but not mandated.

"I would prefer she wore a mask, in the classroom," said parent Britta Bullard.

COVID vaccinations are also strongly encouraged, but not required for attendance.

"Most of the children are asked to be vaccinated. If they can be boosted, it’s better," said Soto. "I think it’s good to just because, to be safer, you know?"

East Side Union High School District Superintendent Glenn Vander Zee said his 22,000 students who show up Tuesday will see a routine they’ve grown accustomed to during COVID.

"We have PPE and masks readily available across our schools and across our district. As well as if someone wants to test, we have testing available," he said.

What is different for this 18-school district is the push to inform parents about a college feeder program called "The Promise." All district students maintaining at least a C-minus average in high school A-thru-G courses, are guaranteed admittance to San Jose State University.

"Right now, of our high school graduates, over 70% attend a two or four year institution. We would like to see that number continue to grow," said Vander Zee.

In this district, that opportunity starts with the opening bell of class Tuesday, as the South Bay starts its first school year without mandatory COVID restrictions.

"It’s good for them to be back in school. It’s good for them to learning stuff. It’s good for them to be socializing," said Brenot.

KTVU is partnering with the non-profit We’re asking viewers to donate funds to help buy school supplies for Bay Area students in-need. All the money raised stays right here in the Bay Area.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter @JesseKTVU and Instagram @jessegontv