Hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles-area students on Monday are returning to campus for the first time in more than a year — a moment marked by pandemic-driven anxiety as well as by joy and relief after children’s lives have been devoid of a sense of normalcy for so long.
The scenes are expected to include the familiar — yellow buses, tearful hugs goodbye between the youngest and their parents, happy reunions with friends. And the first day of school will also be punctuated with the signs of the times: wearing masks all day and lining up for coronavirus testing. Parents and school officials will be tracking news and data about the surge of the Delta variant, which poses ongoing risks during a pandemic that people had hoped would have mostly subsided by now.
Teacher Scott Mandel is among the many expressing palpable excitement.
“We’re finally here. The first major step on the way to normal,” said Mandel in a Facebook post. He directs the Pacoima Singers at the Pacoima Middle School Film, Media and Performing Arts Magnet. “Yes, there’s a lot of trepidation; yes, there’s a lot of uncertainty. But the only thing we know is that we’re going to be back with our kids, in our classrooms, on the way to returning to normalcy. And that’s enough to celebrate. If even only a little.”
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