SAN DIEGO — For the first time in 13 months, San Diego Unified will offer in-person classes to all of its students, starting April 12.
Teachers reported back to campuses April 5 to prepare for their return.
"I am back on campus...officially...this is our first week back,” Hickman Elementary kindergarten teacher Cherrylyn Fidel said.
She admits she’s nervous, but excited to be inside her classroom after spending more than a year teaching from home.
"We just really wanna be with the kids, and so to have that opportunity, I'm counting down the days," she said.
Inside Cherrylyn's room, there are 19 desks spread apart, as well as a big monitor to accommodate the six students who chose to continue with virtual learning.
"We actually have to teach our kids online and in-person at the same time for part of the day," Cherrylyn said.
District-wide, of the 64% of families who filled out a recent survey, 73% said they wanted to return to in-person learning, while 27% prefer online only.
Based on how many kids will be returning to each school, some will have the opportunity to be on campus four days a week.
For others, it could be less.
"The whole question is how much space is in our classrooms. So if you have large numbers of students returning, that may leave the schools at two days a week, if you have fewer students returning that will get us to four days a week," board president Richard Barrera said.
Barrera said based on survey results, schools in areas where the virus has spread more rapidly will see fewer students coming back.
In terms of safety measures, the district is providing free, voluntary COVID-19 tests on each campus.
That's in addition to the millions of dollars spent on items such as PPE and air filtration system upgrades.
"If parents are wondering if it's safe to come back the answer is yes," Barrera said.
Back at Hickman Elementary, Cherrylyn Fidel said staff has been meeting daily to go over all the new protocols.
While safety is a priority, for her, so is ensuring every student, whether they return or not, feels welcome.
"One of our biggest things at this school is making sure that the families that choose to stay online still feel a part of the class," she said.
Parents should be receiving information from their child's school regarding reopening plans this week.
WATCH: Teachers share their thoughts as the school year begins across San Diego County