Vaccine allotment for teachers ease worries as Los Altos Schools return to class

It’s back to the normal routine for roughly 1,100 middle school students in the Los Altos School District. In-person learning resumed Monday, as part of the district's overall plan to return to normalcy.

The LASD had already brought back special education and elementary school students.

"We just knew this day was coming and we couldn’t wait," said Diantha Galli, the parent of a 13-year-old middle school student.

She was one of a few hundred parents picking up their children from Los Altos middle schools Monday afternoon. Her son had been learning virtually since last school year. This day marked the return to campus.

"It was great. I loved it," he said, when asked by a KTVU photographer how the day went.

Officials with this relatively small district say special education and elementary school students safely returned from a Covid-19 shutdown last fall.

Their sequential plan was always to have Egan and Blach middle school students come back sometime before the start of Spring.

"We decided that making the break at the semester made more sense for junior high schools. Because it was going to be disruptive and require schedule changes," said Los Altos School Dist. Superintendent Jeffrey Baier.

Added Egan principal Keith Rocha, "Everything was ready for them. they walked in and we started teaching in person. It was a wonderful experience."

Teacher’s union representatives said spiking Covid case counts pushed the initial return date from January to March. The advent of multiple Covid vaccines, with a percentage set aside for teachers, has reassured educators it’s safe for their return to classrooms.

"We’ve seen a lot of those concerns start to wane a little bit with our members. Just given that our case numbers have dropped dramatically since then," said Ricky Hu, president of the Los Altos Teachers Association.

For this district, it’s a happy return to lines of vehicles inching along, as 80% of parents are choosing to send their children back to school.

"I wish we could have gone back sooner. But I’m just grateful we’re back now," said Galli.

Some students said the best part of the first day back was seeing friends and teachers for the first time since last year.

The district says their successful, sequential approach to bring kids back shows in-person learning can resume safely.