Las Virgenes 4th and 5th graders to return to the classroom on Monday

A Los Angeles County school district is at the forefront of getting kids back in the classroom. Fourth and fifth graders at Las Virgenes Unified School District return to in-person instruction on Monday.

It will be two weeks shy of one year since the 1,400 students have been distance-learning.  

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"It’s going to be like being at the entrance of Disneyland," Las Virgenes Unified School District Superintendent Dan Stepenowsky said. "It’s going to be the happiest place on earth."

Of LA County’s 80 school districts, Stepenowsky said Las Virgenes Unified was the first public school district to get its waiver approved, and they are among the very first to bring back the fourth and fifth graders.

Students in lower grades have already returned to the classroom, starting with those with high needs in early October.

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Kindergarteners, first and second graders in the Las Virgenes Unified School District went back to school in early November.

By early December, third graders returned. "We’re very serious about safety and we’re very serious about getting kids in classrooms for in-person instruction," Superintendent Stepenowsky added.

So, kids, this is what school will look like; half the normal class size, only two hours and 40 minutes of school a day, and you guessed it, masks, social-distancing and an ultraviolent filtration system installed in all 600 schools in the district that zaps bacteria and dust.

What about families who don’t feel safe going back to school? Can they still do distance learning? "Yes," says Superintendent Stepenowsky.

"We have kept a virtual academy. Any family that does not want to be on campus, we will work hard to accommodate. I am 99% sure we will be able to take care of all those requests."

But for many students and parents, the Superintendent says, it’s time.

"A parent just Friday shared with me that she was so excited about coming back, her children were so excited, she even missed waiting in the drop-off and pick-up line with and for her children, so that’s where we are," he said.

If you’d like to hear more from Superintendent Stepenowsky, he will be joining Elex Michaelson on FOX 11, Tuesday, March 2nd, at 7 p.m.

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