Learning to share is typically among the first lessons for kindergartners. But not when hundreds arrived on campus Monday, the first public school children in Los Angeles County to return to school amid surging coronavirus infections.

No shared pencils or crayons. No sitting together at tables. No bouncing a ball from one person to another. Use outstretched “airplane arms” to keep distant from classmates.

Yet for all the restrictions they had to navigate, families and officials expressed excitement as their small public school system in the Calabasas area became the first in L.A. County to reopen campuses to transitional kindergarten through second grade under county-approved waivers. About 2,000 students set foot in classrooms for in-person learning 55 days into the school year.

“We’re excited to get started!” Supt. Dan Stepenosky told The Times. His district straddles the L.A. County-Ventura County border but sits mostly within the jurisdiction of L.A. County, so his waivers were granted by that county’s Department of Public Health. “Most parents are over-the-moon excited,” he added.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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