Youngest students return to classrooms in Washington state's largest school district

Monday was the first day back to in-person instruction for many students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools. It was also a return to some sense of normalcy after learning remotely began about one year ago.

Kindergarten and elementary school kids returned to in-person instruction Monday, while middle and high school students may return by April 19.

Kids discovered their schools were a lot less populated than they remember because class sizes were capped. Students would study and play at recess among familiar groups. Classes lasted only a few hours in the morning another set of children would arrive for afternoon sessions.

The district also partnered with Seattle Department of Transportation to close some roads surrounding several campuses as a way to encourage distancing and keep cars far away from families arriving to school.

RELATED: Seattle Public Schools welcomes students back to in-person learning Monday 

"I’m feeling good," said Damario Leslie outside of Rainier Valley Elementary School.

The third-grader was bright-eyed Monday morning and eager to get back to class. Across his campus, excitement was building for staffers and students who spent months apart.

"A little over half have intended to return today and a half will remain on remote," said Principal Anitra Jones.

RELATED: Washington changes social distancing minimum requirement in schools to 3 feet apart

Seattle Public Schools says a survey revealed about 60 percent of district families with children attending K-5 instruction would return to campus for studies. Distanced learning is also offered through the rest of this school year.

If a student or staffer tests positive for COVID-19 , the district says it will work with public health to locate close contacts. Quarantine may be required for those impacted before they will be allowed to return to campus.

"I’m just happy for the fact he actually gets to interact with other children, just not home," said Shanelle Gui.

The district says they are waiting for another survey from families with 6th-12th grade students. The deadline for families to return that information to the district is April 6.

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