BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern High School District is winding down its first week with seniors allowed back on school campuses, with other students slated to come back in the coming weeks.
Officials say it’s mostly been a smooth transition back. But there’s something missing. Students.
“I’d say overall definitely a happy atmosphere with the kids that wanted to come back," said Troy Guess, a North High English teacher.
Some KHSD seniors are wrapping their first week back in person, after over a year of distance learning.
“So we’ve been talking to all of our students seeing how many would be willing to come back. Very low numbers," Guess said.
It seems the number of students returning hasn’t exactly been high. Students had the option to come to class, or stay remote. And it appears many have chosen the latter.
KHSD says only just over a quarter of their senior population opted to return to campus this week. Some footage posted on the school’s YouTube page this week, showing some classrooms aren't exactly packed. There are many reasons why students may be opting to stay home.
“One of those might be a family decision, you know talking with their families, maybe they just don’t feel comfortable right now since we’re still in a pandemic," said Erin Briscoe-Clarke, KHSD Public Information Officer.
And another big reason, according to Briscoe-Clarke, is that some students have parents that go to work, and little siblings who are still doing online learning.
“And so these students, not only do they have to keep up with their school work, but they have to make sure that their siblings are keeping up with their school work," she said.
“A lot of my friends do sports and so they decided that they wanted to come back as well so I get to see them more often," said Golden Valley senior Jayden Reyes Sarmiento.
It seems that at least for now, high school is going to be a mixed bag of students working remotely and on campus. Some teachers saying the hybrid model can be a little challenging, but any step they can take toward normalcy is welcomed.
“If our attitude is whatever it takes to get our kids back in class and return to normal, we’re willing to do it," Guess said.
The school district says it will welcome freshmen next week, and sophomores and juniors the week after that. The district is discouraging students from toggling back and forth between in-person and online learning.
According to the district, the return of students is scheduled as follows:
April 6, 2021 – All Mild/Moderate students with disabilities who have not yet returned; remaining ROC/CTEC students.
April 12, 2021 – All seniors at all school sites.
April 21, 2021 – All freshmen at all school sites.
April 28, 2021 – All sophomores and juniors at all school sites.