Elementary school students start new school year on campus in one Southern California town

Thursday marks the first day of school for students who attend the sole elementary school within the Lucerne Valley Unified School District and unlike the greater majority of California students, they were given state approval to start the 2020-21 academic year on campus using a hybrid model.

Lucerne Valley is located in the Mojave Desert in western San Bernardino County.

Other districts in the state are working to bridge the digital divide between students during the ongoing pandemic. 


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Lucerne Valley Elementary School is the only school in the county that was granted a waiver by the state to offer in-person instruction. The area meets the state’s case-to-population requirement to resume in-person instruction by having fewer than 200 positive coronavirus cases per every 100,000 residents. Here, that number is 56.8 per 100,000 residents.

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Eighty percent of the students who attend the elementary school will be returning using a hybrid model, while parents of the other twenty percent opted for their children to continue distance learning. 

"Half the students will come on Thursday and Friday and the other half will be learning virtually. On Monday and Tuesday, the ones that were virtual will come back to class and the other students will be learning virtually. On Wednesday, everyone learns online," Principal Ricky Anderson explained.

"We’re putting a lot of things in place like the sneeze guard partitions as well as hand sanitizer…we provided personal water bottles so students don’t have to use the water foundation stations," he said. 

The so-called  "sneeze guards" are barriers that were placed on students’ desks and came from a manufacturer in Florida.

Anderson also said they have installed hand-washing stations, will ensure students are socially distanced and will have staggered recess time.

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