Middle & High School Students Return to Campus

Class sizes varied at Inderkum High on Monday for the first day of in-person learning. / NatomasBuzz.com Photo

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Updated 11 a.m. on March 23, 2021*

Hundreds middle and high school students returned to campuses in Natomas on Monday to resume in-person learning.

“It’s definitely different than normal, but it’s good to have kids on campus,” acting Inderkum High principal Dan Motherspaw said.

Middle and high school students have not been on the campuses for in-person learning for more than a year.

Sacramento County’s move last week into the red tier, as defined by the state Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowed the return of middle and high school students to campuses as soon as five days later.

The Inderkum mascot greeted students to campus on Monday. / NatomasBuzz.com

Students arriving to school at Inderkum were greeted Monday by the school’s larger than life mascot and a handful of cheerleaders.

Both Inderkum and Natomas High students returning for in-person learning have been divided into three separate cohorts which rotate daily. A cohort is a group of people.

Inderkum is the larger of the two traditional high school campuses in the Natomas Unified School District with more than 2,000 students. On Monday, 147 students out of the 219 students in Cohort A attended school in person — or about 67%, Inderkum school officials said. Students not in class, in person, were online, they said.

Sirisha Nemani said her 14-year-old son was the only student in his zero period PE class and one of two students in other classes. His largest class on Monday, she said, had six people in it.

“It was good for him to go find his way around the school and meet his teachers,” said Nemani. “Despite the number of kids he still loved going to school!”

An in-person Spanish class at Inderkum on Monday. / NatomasBuzz.com Photo

According to Natomas High School principal Scott Pitts, 96 students were on campus Monday.

This week Inderkum and Natomas High students are on a minimum day schedule to give students time to get acquainted with their school site and learn new safety routines and measures. Students are set to resume their regular class schedule on March 29.

This year’s entering ninth graders, for example, had never attended classes on the high school campus before March 22.

“I think it’s important that the kids have an opportunity to cultivate friendships and relationships with their teachers in a face-to-face setting,” said Nancy Kong-Vasquez, who has a freshman and sophomore planning to return to Inderkum for in-person learning on Wednesday. “Already living in a digital age, I think kids have a hard time having conversations with other people. I feel that social interaction is an important life skill, and is nearly impossible to learn via distance learning.”

Families who chose for their students to remain in distance learning will continue to learn from home. But students will have opportunities to return to in-person instruction if space is available, according to an email message sent out by the district.

“I’m thankful for this first baby step of high school kids returning to school,” said Elizabeth Brushwyler, whose daughter is a junior at Inderkum and went to campus on Monday. “I look forward to everyone working together to bring back five days a week in person learning for all kids.”

Cohorts of middle and high school students also returned to Leroy Greene Academy, Natomas Charter School and Natomas Middle School on Monday. Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep middle and high schoolers who opt for in-person learning will return to campus in cohorts starting April 12.

*Article updated with information about Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep middle and high school students return to campus.

Welcome Back! We Missed You!

A banner greets students at Natomas High School on Monday. / NatomasBuzz.com Photo

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