Chula Vista, CA (AP) — When one of California’s first public schools was fully open to face-to-face learning on Wednesday, there was music, dance teachers, and lots of hugs. Masked students helped remind us that the coronavirus pandemic isn’t over yet, but it’s the most populous state in the United States.

Public Education Supervisor Tony Thurmond welcomed students at Enrique S. Camalena Elementary School in Chula Vista, south of San Diego near the Mexican border.

“Bien Benidos! Welcome to school! That’s all for my speech,” Thurmond said with laughter and applause from the students and parents who gathered at the school playground. “I’m here to say I’m very proud of you. This is one of the first schools to return to throughout California. To everyone in California and our country, It shows that we learn well, stay safe, and support our students and their families. “

Salmond raises concerns about when the Chula Vista primary school district will return to direct instruction throughout the day as the number of COVID-19 infections from more contagious delta variants increases, including young children who have not been vaccinated. I tried to relieve it. Still approved.

Thurmond said he was confident that the school could be safely reopened with masks, hand washing and frequent testing of staff and students.

Despite the nationwide surge in cases of COVID-19, people are becoming more tired of wearing masks, vaccine regulations, and social distance requirements, but this year children are in the classroom full-time. School districts across the United States are on a difficult path amid increasing pressure to return.

California was one of the slowest states in the country to reopen public schools after a pandemic forced millions to study online for over a year. When school reopened, most districts moved to a hybrid model in which students went directly to class only a few days a week.

Public schools in California have seen a sharp decline in enrollment this year, partly because many parents have enrolled their children in private schools that offer direct learning.

Thurmond promised that public schools could come back even better if everyone played their part in keeping their children in the classroom.

The California Public Health Service said all students and staff must wear masks and issue stricter orders than recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Federal agencies state that masks are only needed indoors for people who have not been vaccinated with COVID-19.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended universal masking at school on Monday, even for vaccinated people.

Some parent groups are protesting California school mask requirements, and at least one threatens to file a proceeding. Some districts have stated that they will not enforce the rules, and the state has not shown that there are penalties for those who ignore the order.

Thurmond praised the safety measures in the Chula Vista area, including making prompt COVID-19 testing available to all students on a regular basis. He said it was important until the vaccine was available to children under the age of 12, which could occur this fall.

“These are precautions that keep us safe and keep our school open,” Thurmond told reporters after visiting the school.

On Wednesday, the desire to return to direct learning was fully demonstrated. Principal Debra McLaren said that of the approximately 1,000 students, approximately 952 applied for return.

“It’s exhilarating,” yelled McLaren, dancing to Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” and on a clear morning, the students and their families posed for a photo shoot in front of the school.

Among them was Ethan, 6 years old. He proudly had a sign introducing his new school, but he didn’t have the opportunity to do it in kindergarten because of the online lessons.

The sign contained what he loved, including The Avengers, Guava, and reading.

Roxana Preciado said that the need to wear a mask is a small sacrifice if the daughter can attend school every day.

“If we all follow the rules, we’re all okay,” she said.