Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

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By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Wearing Masks, Excited Students Return to SMMUSD Campuses

Despite and some glitches in the computer system, kids returned to teachers in some cases for the first time in 15 months


August 23, 2021

Mary Leipziger

A family waiting to be Covid tested before admission to a local elementary school.

Students in Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District returned to class Thursday for the fall semester. They had to wear masks indoors and outdoors on campus but they were happy going back to classrooms and feeling a sense of "normality" during the pandemic.

Students didn't have to log in to Zoom classes or remember the rotating class schedule or contend with six-foot spacing between desks as they had to do when school first reopened last spring.

On Thursday, the students managed to find their way on campus, mingle with their friends and meet their teachers in person. Yes, there were lines, but reportedly they moved quickly despite some glitches in the computer system.

"Great first day for the @EdisonAguilas Eagles! Teachers and students were so excited to be back," tweeted SMMUSD mom Sylvia Kerkotchian.

Unlike their peers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the local students didn't have to contend with the long lines to enter their schools.

On Monday, the first day of their school new year, LAUSD students encountered problems with the district's Daily Pass website, leading to lengthy wait times to enter campuses. That website confirms the student's Covid test results.

SMMUSD serves roughly 10,700 students in 17 schools, where minority enrollment is 40%, according to state education officials. Also 24% of students are economically disadvantaged

Last week, SMMUD announced it was requiring all students, teachers and staff to take weekly COVID-19 tests, whether they are vaccinated on not. And the district will send home any student without a recent negative test on file.

The district also stated that its employees must report their vaccination status this week and be fully vaccinated by October 1 to be allowed on campus.

These requirements were issue "to maintaining the integrity of the learning process as we navigate the inevitable and complex contract tracing decision-making required to limit exposure of COVID- 19," said Supt. Ben Drati.


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