The Long Beach Unified School District reopened its elementary school campuses on Monday, 380 days after they closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During much of the closure, social media has been a contentious place, with lots of venting, frustration and dueling opinions about whether it was safe to bring kids back to school.
Some of those debates and heartache among students left out are continuing, but on Monday much of the city celebrated—albeit in a physically distanced way—with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook flooded with images of some of the 14,000 students who returned to campus.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and California Gov. Gavin Newsom pointed out that Long Beach is the largest school district in the state so far to open up a large portion of its campuses.
Today we are welcoming thousands of students back into the classroom. @LBSchools is now the largest public school system in California to reopen campuses. We vaccinated teachers and school staff early. Such a hopeful and amazing day. pic.twitter.com/xMUVXNQGBG
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) March 29, 2021
Today, Long Beach Unified became the largest public school system to bring kids back into the classroom. It’s a good day. https://t.co/PNs0eO1C57
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 29, 2021
Superintendent Jill Baker toured several campuses and live-tweeted her experiences and conversations with students. It was a significant day for Baker as well. The first woman to serve as superintendent of the LBUSD, Baker was officially hired almost a full calendar year ago, but Monday marked the first time in her tenure as superintendent that campuses were open.
What a sweet moment to witness. It was his very first day of Kindergarten at Alvarado. You can “see” the smile behind his mask. I love our @LBSchools students. #proudtobeLBUSD pic.twitter.com/ER9AaT4Kp6
— Jill Baker, Ed.D. (@jbaker000) March 30, 2021
I stood w/ tears in my eyes watching a masterful teacher welcome students into the community that is her classroom. This is where the magic of education happens 💫. TY Mrs. Hadley for allowing into this sacred space today to experience the moment. #proudtobeLBUSD @AlvaradoLbusd pic.twitter.com/8w1Wp8kT0A
— Jill Baker, Ed.D. (@jbaker000) March 30, 2021
SO much thought & care put into preparing classrooms for the return of our little ones. I loved talking to Kindergartners at Alvarado, Edison & Longfellow about how they felt today They shared the duality of nerves & excitement. All of the feels! #proudtobeLBUSD pic.twitter.com/1t5yquTTOF
— Jill Baker, Ed.D. (@jbaker000) March 29, 2021
Other LBUSD elementary schools and principals posted about the joy they saw at their gates as they opened to students once again.
We had the pleasure of joining the @DooleyDragons this morning welcoming students back to campus! Great job dragons you rocked it! #ProudtobeLBUSD #UptownUnited #pantherpride @PrincipaIIrving pic.twitter.com/5nUd3FF43y
— LBJordanASB (@LBJordanASB) March 29, 2021
Today, our commitment to providing the best for @WhittierLBUSD in-person & distance learning Ss remains the same! ❤️ seeing smiling eyes transform our 98 yr. site from an empty shell to a vibrant place of teaching & learning again. #ProudToBeLBUSD @jbaker000 @DrJuanMBenitez pic.twitter.com/oyMcWBu16w
— DJespersen (@DJespersen1) March 30, 2021
After 381 days, Webster came back to life! 💙💛 Today was the “first day” of the rest of the school year for both our Hybrid Students and our Distance Learners, and it was AMAZING! 💕 We are #WebsterStrong 💻Thank you Webster community! #websterwildcatsdeserveit #proudtobelbusd pic.twitter.com/zPLRrgB4nI
— Daniel Webster LBUSD (@WebsterLBUSD) March 30, 2021
How great was it having kids on campus after all this time! Successful day thanks to the hard work of our staff and the LBUSD folks who came out to assist! #EmersonEagles #ProudtobeLBUSD pic.twitter.com/0NrnERs8B0
— Emerson Parkside Academy (@EmersonLBUSD) March 30, 2021
— Rachel Heenan, Ed.D. (@RachelH_LB) March 29, 2021
We had a great morning at Naples Elementary welcoming students back to in-person learning. @paulajboys and her staff did an amazing job preparing for this day! #proudtobelbusd pic.twitter.com/k32J4AZ6iB
— Edward Steinhauser (@MrSteinhauser) March 29, 2021
Now that about half of its elementary schoolers are back in class, the LBUSD plans to reopen middle schools on April 20. High school seniors will be allowed to return to class on April 19 and grades 9 through 11 on April 26. Most high schoolers have opted to keep learning from home to finish out the year, while about half of all middle schoolers are returning to class.
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