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Ripon Unified kindergarten thru 3rd graders return to classrooms; almost all wear masks
weston back
Youngsters were released and picked up on this “first day” back on campus at the designated pickup area.

Monday had the feel of the first day of school.

In way, it was just that for kindergarten- through- third- grade students at Weston Elementary School.

Some 175 youngsters returned to campus for “in-person learning.” That’s not counting those who opted to continue with distance learning or doing independent studies, according to Principal Lisa Fereria.

She’s currently the most tenured principal at the district, spending the past 13 years as the top administrator at Weston.

Fereria applauded the efforts of those involved, from the teaching and support staff to the parents and students.

“The first day back went really well,” she said. “Parents were gracious and excited – most of the kids wore face masks.”

The return to campus required students to follow all public health and state safety protocols such as wearing face coverings, using social distance, and limiting the number of people based on square footage.

Third graders on up are required to wear face masks while K-2 youngsters were only requested to do likewise.

“Almost everybody wore masks today,” Fereria said.

She added: “It was like the first day of school but only the routines were different.”

Take the playground area, for example.

In order to maintain social distancing, Weston staggered recesses during the day to accommodate the various classes given the small outdoor play area.

Students, meanwhile, were dropped off and picked up in designated areas of the school parking lot – they were greeted with green balloons and a “Welcome back Weston Wildcats” sign.

Earlier this month, the Ripon Unified school board approved a resolution necessary for the application to file the waiver with the San Joaquin County Public Health Services to “return to in-person learning for TK through sixth grade students as soon as physically possible based on current COVID-19 data tier information.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic, RUSD and other school districts statewide have gone with distance-learning curriculums.

The return of K-3 youngsters to the classroom served as a dry run of sort for the later students to follow. The 4-6 graders will transition back to campus on Oct. 12.

Students through the third grade at Park View, Ripona, Colony Oak, and Ripon schools also returned to campus on Monday.

The state has not made it possible yet for schools to apply for waivers to allow the return of seventh through 12th graders to campuses for in-person learning.