By Collin Breaux

For the first time since March, Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) students are back on campuses for in-person learning.

Elementary students began returning to campus last week, as part of a phased resumption of in-person instruction. Middle school returns started on Tuesday, Oct. 6, and high school is slated to start on Oct. 13.

Palisades Elementary School students wore masks and practiced social distancing in their classrooms on Friday, Oct. 2. Principal Lisa Baggio said students know where to sit and stand in line based on marked spots, and the movement of students from class to class has been excellent.

“We have a really good plan in place,” Baggio said. “We have one-way hallways. The teachers know the routine between sessions.”

Kindergarten teacher Kim Van Dixhorn said she was emotionally moved to see students face-to-face again after “six long months” of physical separation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Palisades Elementary School students and staff on campus follow safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Collin Breaux

“It’s what’s good for these kids, and it feels so good to be back in the classroom with them and see them leave and say, ‘I can’t wait to come back tomorrow,’ ” Dixhorn said. “Parents have sent really nice messages about how happy the kids are. We’ve transitioned beautifully.”

Dixhorn said she can give direct instruction and meet individual needs quicker through in-person instruction than she can online.

CUSD students began the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 18 with virtual learning, which they had utilized since March after the CUSD Board of Trustees voted to close campuses as the coronavirus spread.

Students and teachers have variously said they are ready to safely return to in-person instruction, though health concerns have been raised by other teachers and parents.

Under a flexible reopening plan trustees approved in July, students still have the option of online learning if they so choose. Teachers who commented during recent Board of Trustees meetings said having to teach both in-person and online classes is a strain on them.

In-person classroom sizes will be limited, and students’ temperatures will be taken by a teacher or staff member prior to a first session, first class or when boarding the bus.

A student discipline plan is in place for not wearing facial coverings.

Students at the elementary school level will receive three warnings and then be reassigned to 100% online learning after the fourth violation. Students at the secondary level will receive two warnings and then be reassigned to 100% online learning after the third violation.

Crossing guards have also returned to campuses. The reopening plans are in accordance with the state’s new color-coded, four-tiered coronavirus monitoring system. Orange County remained in the red tier—the second-highest, risk-level tier that permits some reopenings and operations—as of this posting.

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comments (2)

  • Take the masks off these kids for God’s sake. They are healthy. They don’t get sick from Covid. If you worry about transmission.. keep your kids home. Let healthy kids from healthy families go to school without the dirty disgusting masks. How dumb can we get here????

  • Attitudes like this are the reason the US #1 in the world!

    WITH COVID19 CASES & DEATHS

    GET A WASHABLE MASK.

    United States 7,780,586 216,889 North America
    India 6,835,655 105,554 Asia
    Brazil 5,002,357 148,304 South America
    Russia 1,260,112 22,056 Europe
    Colombia 877,683 27,180 South America
    Spain 872,276 32,562 Europe
    Argentina 840,915 22,226 South America
    Peru 835,662 33,009 South America
    Mexico 799,188 82,726 North America
    South Africa 685,155 17,248 Africa
    France 653,509 32,445 Europe
    United Kingdom 544,275 42,515 Europe
    Iran 488,236 27,888 Asia
    Chile 474,440 13,090 South America
    Iraq 394,566 9,683 Asia
    Bangladesh 374,592 5,460 Asia
    Saudi Arabia 338,132 4,972 Asia
    Italy 333,940 36,061 Europe
    Philippines 331,869 6,069 Asia
    Turkey 329,138 8,609 Asia
    Indonesia 320,564 11,580 Asia
    Pakistan 316,934 6,544 Asia
    Germany 311,331 9,652 Europe
    Israel 283,532 1,846 Asia
    Ukraine 244,734 4,690 Europe
    Canada 173,123 9,541 North America
    Netherlands 155,810 6,531 Europe
    Romania 145,700 5,247 Europe
    Ecuador 143,531 11,743 South America
    Morocco 140,024 2,439 Africa
    Belgium 137,868 10,108 Europe
    Bolivia 137,706 8,192 South America
    Qatar 127,394 218 Asia
    Panama 117,300 2,448 North America
    Dominican Republic 116,148 2,159 North America
    Poland 111,599 2,867 Europe
    Kuwait 109,441 642 Asia
    Kazakhstan 108,454 1,746 Asia
    Oman 104,129 1,009 Asia
    Egypt 104,035 6,010 Africa
    United Arab Emirates 102,929 438 Asia
    Nepal 98,617 590 Asia
    Sweden 97,532 5,892 Europe
    Guatemala 95,704 3,335 North America
    Czech Republic (Czechia) 95,360 829 Europe
    Japan (+Diamond Princess) 87,255 1,618 Asia
    China 85,500 4,634 Asia
    Costa Rica 83,497 1,024 North America
    Belarus 81,505 874 Europe
    Portugal 81,256 2,040 Europe
    Honduras 81,016 2,466 North America
    Ethiopia 80,895 1,255 Africa
    Venezuela 80,404 671 South America
    Bahrain 73,932 262 Asia
    Uzbekistan 59,905 494 Asia
    Nigeria 59,738 1,113 Africa
    Switzerland 58,881 2,084 Europe
    Moldova 58,794 1,406 Europe
    Singapore 57,849 27 Asia
    Armenia 54,473 1,004 Asia
    Algeria 52,520 1,771 Africa
    Austria 52,057 838 Europe
    Lebanon 48,377 433 Asia
    Kyrgyzstan 48,342 1,073 Asia
    Ghana 46,829 303 Africa
    Paraguay 46,435 989 South America
    State of Palestine 43,256 359 Asia
    Azerbaijan 41,304 603 Asia
    Libya 40,292 616 Africa
    Kenya 39,907 748 Africa
    Afghanistan 39,616 1,470 Asia
    Ireland 39,584 1,816 Europe
    Serbia 34,344 760 Europe
    Hungary 34,046 898 Europe
    Denmark 31,156 665 Europe
    El Salvador 29,842 877 North America
    Bosnia and Herzegovina 29,528 913 Europe
    Australia 27,204 897 Australia/Oceania
    Tunisia 24,542 364 Africa
    South Korea 24,422 427 Asia
    Bulgaria 22,743 873 Europe
    Myanmar 21,433 510 Asia
    Greece 20,947 424 Europe
    Cameroon 20,924 420 Africa
    Jordan 20,200 131 Asia
    Côte d’Ivoire 19,935 120 Africa
    North Macedonia 19,413 772 Europe
    Croatia 18,989 310 Europe
    Madagascar 16,654 235 Africa
    Slovakia 15,726 57 Europe
    Zambia 15,224 335 Africa
    Senegal 15,190 313 Africa
    Norway 15,013 275 Europe
    Albania 14,730 407 Europe
    Malaysia 14,368 146 Asia
    Sudan 13,668 836 Africa
    Montenegro 12,794 190 Europe
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    Finland 11,345 346 Europe
    Guinea 10,863 68 Africa
    DR Congo 10,804 276 Africa
    Maldives 10,656 34 Asia
    Georgia 10,225 66 Asia
    French Guiana 10,103 69 South America
    Tajikistan 10,055 78 Asia
    Mozambique 9,494 68 Africa
    Uganda 9,442 85 Africa
    Luxembourg 9,119 128 Europe
    Haiti 8,838 229 North America
    Gabon 8,815 54 Africa
    Zimbabwe 7,919 229 Africa
    Mauritania 7,535 162 Africa
    Slovenia 7,507 160 Europe
    Jamaica 7,191 126 North America
    Cabo Verde 6,624 71 Africa
    Guadeloupe 6,319 77 North America
    Cuba 5,898 123 North America
    Malawi 5,803 180 Africa
    Angola 5,725 211 Africa
    Lithuania 5,625 102 Europe
    Eswatini 5,617 113 Africa
    Djibouti 5,423 61 Africa
    Nicaragua 5,264 153 North America
    Hong Kong 5,162 105 Asia
    Congo 5,089 89 Africa
    Equatorial Guinea 5,052 83 Africa
    Suriname 4,979 106 South America
    Trinidad and Tobago 4,887 84 North America
    Rwanda 4,883 29 Africa
    Central African Republic 4,852 62 Africa
    Bahamas 4,713 102 North America
    Syria 4,504 212 Asia
    Sri Lanka 4,459 13 Asia
    Réunion 4,385 16 Africa
    Aruba 4,133 31 North America
    Mayotte 3,892 42 Africa
    Estonia 3,760 67 Europe
    Somalia 3,745 99 Africa
    Thailand 3,622 59 Asia
    Gambia 3,613 117 Africa
    Malta 3,506 41 Europe
    Guyana 3,292 95 South America
    Mali 3,210 131 Africa
    Botswana 3,172 18 Africa
    Iceland 3,172 10 Europe
    South Sudan 2,748 50 Africa
    Andorra 2,568 53 Europe
    Benin 2,411 41 Africa
    Guinea-Bissau 2,385 40 Africa
    Latvia 2,370 40 Europe
    French Polynesia 2,358 10 Australia/Oceania
    Belize 2,310 34 North America
    Sierra Leone 2,287 72 Africa
    Burkina Faso 2,222 59 Africa
    Uruguay 2,206 49 South America
    Yemen 2,049 593 Asia
    Togo 1,898 49 Africa
    Cyprus 1,897 24 Asia
    New Zealand 1,864 25 Australia/Oceania
    Martinique 1,851 22 North America
    Lesotho 1,767 40 Africa
    Liberia 1,360 82 Africa
    Chad 1,251 89 Africa
    Niger 1,200 69 Africa
    Vietnam 1,099 35 Asia
    Sao Tome & Principe 914 15 Africa
    San Marino 732 42 Europe
    Channel Islands 698 48 Europe
    Sint Maarten 698 22 North America
    Turks and Caicos 695 6 North America
    Papua New Guinea 541 7 Australia/Oceania
    Taiwan 524 7 Asia
    Burundi 515 1 Africa
    Tanzania 509 21 Africa
    Curaçao 505 1 North America
    Comoros 491 7 Africa
    Faeroe Islands 477 0 Europe
    Gibraltar 452 0 Europe
    Saint Martin 412 8 North America
    Eritrea 398 0 Africa
    Mauritius 395 10 Africa
    Isle of Man 345 24 Europe
    Mongolia 315 0 Asia
    Bhutan 304 0 Asia
    Cambodia 281 0 Asia
    Monaco 227 2 Europe
    Cayman Islands 213 1 North America
    Barbados 203 7 North America
    Bermuda 181 9 North America
    Seychelles 148 0 Africa
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    Liechtenstein 135 1 Europe
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    Laos 23 0 Asia
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    Western Sahara 10 1 Africa
    MS Zaandam 9 2
    Anguilla 3 0 North America
    Solomon Islands 1 0 Australia/Oceania

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