Desert Sands Unified School District's middle and high school students headed back to campus on Monday after a long year of distance learning.
“I am extremely excited. Everyone has worked so hard the whole year...all the teachers and staff to help get us back to school," said Malia Boomer, Junior, Shadow Hills High School.
“We’re so excited it’s been such a long wait," echoed Assistant Principal Sharon Kalkoske. "There’s a thing called Zoom energy, but there’s nothing like real people."
DSUSD's students in grades 6-12th will experience similar modifications as the district's younger grades. DSUSD's pre-K through 5th grade students returned to campus with hybrid learning on March 15.
Students will be split into two groups who will each be in classrooms for two days a week and distance learning for the remaining three days. Face coverings for students and staff will be mandatory with classroom seating six feet apart.
“You’ll notice that our desks are partner-paired A and B. A is for students that are in Cohort A and that’s where they’ll be sitting on Monday and Tuesday. B is for the students in Cohort B on Thursday and Friday,” explained Judith Gadd, a teacher at Shadow Hills High School.
Middle and high school students will not have lunch on campus. School officials say each student will be given a lunch and breakfast for the following morning to-go each day on their way home.
Despite the changes, students and staff shared their overwhelming excitement and relief to be reunited on campus. “I’m looking forward to connecting with my students personally. I just feel like we’ve taken such a journey together. I want to help them get across the finish line together. I’m so proud of everything they’ve accomplished," added Gadd.
Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage on students' return to campus in the Coachella Valley.