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Class back in session for Ocean View, Fountain Valley school districts

Principal Jill Van Der Linden, left, welcomes parents and students back to campus at Lake View Elementary School.
Principal Jill Van Der Linden, left, welcomes parents and students back to campus for the first day of instruction at Lake View Elementary School on Wednesday morning in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Sandy Diaz was a bit nervous as she dropped her two children off at Lake View Elementary School in Huntington Beach on Wednesday morning.

Still, even in the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the first day of school was exciting for her children, with Arthur starting second grade and Isabella starting third grade.

“I’m a little scared, but I can’t keep them in a little bubble,” Diaz said. “I need to let them out.”

Class was back in session Wednesday for thousands of students in the Ocean View and Fountain Valley school districts. Huntington Beach City School District follows suit on Thursday.

Ocean View School District, which has an enrollment of more than 8,000, welcomed students back to its 10 elementary schools and four middle schools. Fountain Valley School District has seven elementary schools and three middle schools, and an enrollment of more than 6,300 students.

Principal Jill Van Der Linden, left, helps take a family photo of Nova Keel, 5, with her father Ryan and mother Kirsten.
Principal Jill Van Der Linden, left, helps take a family photo of TK student Nova Keel, 5, center, with her father Ryan and mother Kirsten before class on the first day of instruction at Lake View Elementary School on Wednesday morning in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Masks are mandatory inside classrooms for students, barring a medical exemption, per guidelines from the California Department of Public Health.

Lake View is a STEAM school, which means it has an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. That’s the reason Jackie Bidnick’s daughter Brinkley, who started third grade on Wednesday, attends that school.

Brinkley was enrolled in the Virtual Academy option all last school year, meaning it has been well over a calendar year since she stepped foot on campus.

“We are just very excited to be back in person, full schedule, full days with all her friends,” Jackie Bidnick said. “It’s a blessing for us to be here and get back to some normalcy for the kids. She’s not shy or withdrawn after being away from it all for a year. She’s like, ‘OK, I see my people, bye.’ She’s back in her happy place here.”

Third-grade teacher Sandi Lewis speaks to her students on their first day back on Wednesday morning.
Third-grade teacher Sandi Lewis speaks to her students on their first day back at Lake View Elementary School on Wednesday morning in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Lake View Principal Jill Van Der Linden smiled as she moved around her campus Wednesday morning.

Van Der Linden said she felt “excited, and also cautiously optimistic. We’ve been working at this all summer, getting ready, putting all these safety protocols in place. We’re just excited to have kids here.”

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