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SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA – With sneeze guards on the front of their desks placed six feet apart, hand sanitizer dispensers at the classroom door entrances and covered water fountains, 1,800 students returned to the classrooms part-time today in the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in 24 schools.
Alum Rock Union Elementary School District Superintendent Hilaria Bauer called it an historic day during a news conference at San Antonio Elementary School where one-third of the students are returning.
“This is the epicenter of the pandemic for the County, and we have done all of our due diligence to make sure all of our sites and all of our staff follow the most appropriate health and social distancing conditions to make sure we are offering the kind of in-person instruction that our children deserve,” said Hilaria Bauer, the Superintendent of the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District.
Bauer thanked the parents for trusting the district by sending their children back to the classroom and said all of the classrooms with have a certified teacher.
The Superintendent of Santa Clara County’s Office of Education gave high praise to the district.
In the timeline of the pandemic, returning to in-person instruction represents a significant milestone. This achievement is only possible through the tireless, concerted efforts of district and school administration, staff, educators, students and families within our community and our county agency partners,” said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. “Lessons learned from the pandemic have bolstered our agency’s commitment to support access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, equip students with digital and internet resources, and promote the continued development of equitable processes and systems within education.”
Dr. Ivan Montes, the principal of San Antonio Elementary School - where 90 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch and two-thirds have a home language other than English - spent the last year making home visits to students’ homes meeting with parents, mailing them supplies and helping them navigate a sometimes rocky road with distance learning. His diligence paid off with one-third of his students returning after he again knocked on doors assuring parents their children would be safe in an area hard hit by the pandemic.
“I couldn’t be more excited seeing and interacting with our students and families fills my soul. I also know that work does not end here. The inequities facing our families have only been highlighted,” said Dr. Ivan Montes.
Supervisor Cindy Chavez acknowledged the challenges have been great for parents, students and teachers throughout the year and is working on several proposals to reverse the inequities.
CALL TO ACTION: