Destination Education: Students, educators return to campus full-time for 2021-22 academic year

It is back-to-school time for students across Southern California and for the first time since the pandemic started, brings the return of full-time in-person learning. FOX 11 brings you "Destination Education" a spotlight series in the coming months that will go in-depth on the critical issues facing students, parents, and educators in the new school year.  

FOX 11 has also provided a full list of when each public school district is set to return in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, and Ventura counties:

Throughout the pandemic, families and educators were left with no choice but to adjust to virtual learning with campuses closed to follow coronavirus regulations. 

As COVID-19 case numbers dropped in the spring and summer months, many students returned to school campuses at the tail end of the 2020-21 school year.

On June 15, California loosened many of its coronavirus restrictions which gave school officials the promising hope to return to school campuses full-time for the fall semester.

Some have expressed their concerns as coronavirus case numbers are once again on the rise, with health officials reporting the Delta variant is more contagious and still, those under the age of 12 remain ineligible for the vaccine.

California has yet to reimplement its mask mandate, however, in late July, the state recommended residents wear their masks indoors despite their vaccination status. Earlier that month, California said it will require teachers and students to wear their masks in indoor school settings.

Some parents are challenging the mask mandate and are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials. 


As researchers discover more information about the delta variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control updated its mask guidelines and now recommends that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. The recommendation also applies nationwide in indoor settings, especially where case numbers are surging. 

For the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the second-largest school district in the nation, the new school year brings a new superintendent. Following what was likely his most challenging 18 months as an educator, former LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beautner announced in April he would step down once his contract expired in June. Megan J. Reilly, who previously served as a top financial officer for the district, began serving as Interim Superintendent on July 1. 

For students and all employees returning for in-person activities, LAUSD officials announced they implemented a new policy that requires weekly COVID-19 testing. 

Some families are opting not to return as schools reopen. EdSource reported that at the height of the pandemic, nearly 35,000 families filed an affidavit to open a private home school.

Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.