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Tears, hugs and masks as parents send their children back to school

Ravenswood district students kick off their fall terms

Marcedalia Bocanegra gives her daughter Yazlen Lozano, 5, a kiss on the first day of school at Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy in East Palo Alto on Aug. 25, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

There were tears from parents and kindergartners alike at Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy in East Palo Alto as they hugged each other at drop-off on the first day of school Wednesday, Aug. 25.

Some students returned to campus last winter in small, stable cohorts, but with everyone back this school year full time, some of the young students are experiencing their first days in school, having forgone preschool amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alex Quezada, principal of the K-5 school, said school staffers feel "excited, hopeful, energized and committed" to the prospect of restoring and strengthening relationships with students and families.

Kindergartners Genesis, Yexalen and Lucia have breakfast on the first day of school at Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy in East Palo Alto on Aug. 25, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

"We reaped the rewards of building strong relationships with students because our student cohorts were smaller, compared to a pre-pandemic year," he said in an email. "This fall, we continued to apply that knowledge and experience and designed the student experience to be more intimate and personalized."

Kindergarten teacher Ruth Cuellar said it's nice to see all the faces, smiles and laughs.

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Starting Nov. 1, Ravenswood School District will require vaccination for eligible students in order to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, according to the district's 2021 safety plan. Students who become eligible for the vaccine during the school year will have two months to provide proof of full vaccination before this requirement applies.

If families give permission, the district will test students weekly for COVID-19.

Staff vaccination rates

Kindergarten teacher Ruth Cuellar gives Regina some hand sanitizer before entering the classroom on the first day of school at Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy in East Palo Alto on Aug. 25, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Ravenswood district staff report a much lower COVID-19 vaccination rate than neighboring school districts. As of Aug. 12, 72% of certified staff (which includes teachers) and 73% of classified staff have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine.

To encourage vaccinations among staff, ​​the district has hosted vaccination clinics at its school sites to facilitate access and "will continue to find opportunities to do so throughout the year," said governing board member Ana Maria Pulido in an email.

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Angela Swartz writes for The Almanac, a sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

Angela Swartz
 
Angela Swartz joined The Almanac in 2018 and covers education and small towns. She has a background covering education, city politics and business. Read more >>

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Tears, hugs and masks as parents send their children back to school

Ravenswood district students kick off their fall terms

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Tue, Aug 31, 2021, 4:50 pm

There were tears from parents and kindergartners alike at Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy in East Palo Alto as they hugged each other at drop-off on the first day of school Wednesday, Aug. 25.

Some students returned to campus last winter in small, stable cohorts, but with everyone back this school year full time, some of the young students are experiencing their first days in school, having forgone preschool amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alex Quezada, principal of the K-5 school, said school staffers feel "excited, hopeful, energized and committed" to the prospect of restoring and strengthening relationships with students and families.

"We reaped the rewards of building strong relationships with students because our student cohorts were smaller, compared to a pre-pandemic year," he said in an email. "This fall, we continued to apply that knowledge and experience and designed the student experience to be more intimate and personalized."

Kindergarten teacher Ruth Cuellar said it's nice to see all the faces, smiles and laughs.

Starting Nov. 1, Ravenswood School District will require vaccination for eligible students in order to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, according to the district's 2021 safety plan. Students who become eligible for the vaccine during the school year will have two months to provide proof of full vaccination before this requirement applies.

If families give permission, the district will test students weekly for COVID-19.

Staff vaccination rates

Ravenswood district staff report a much lower COVID-19 vaccination rate than neighboring school districts. As of Aug. 12, 72% of certified staff (which includes teachers) and 73% of classified staff have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine.

To encourage vaccinations among staff, ​​the district has hosted vaccination clinics at its school sites to facilitate access and "will continue to find opportunities to do so throughout the year," said governing board member Ana Maria Pulido in an email.

Angela Swartz writes for The Almanac, a sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

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