For students like Anthony Martinez, this is the first time he will be stepping into a classroom, at a completely new school since March 2020.
Martinez is a 7th grader at Jefferson Middle School in Indio. He started middle school for the first time, meeting his friends and teachers through a computer screen.
While it was not the welcoming he expected due to the pandemic, he didn't let that deter his goals for the year. That goal was to be part of the school's news station.
He worked his way through 6th grade, anchoring and editing for his school newscasts from home.
Now that he's back in school, he's excited to meet more friends, and to learn from his teachers face to face. Even anchor from the school's actual news studio.
Being back in school is the case for a majority of the 27,000 students DSUSD is welcoming back.
Only about 200 students opted to participate in independent studies for the school year.