ELK GROVE (CBS13) — It’s back to school for two of the Sacramento area’s biggest districts: Stockton and Elk Grove Unified. Parents say it’s a far cry from a “normal” start to the year.

“I honestly don’t know how you can expect to teach a child and work at the same time,” said one Elk Grove parent.

For Angella Kelough, her biggest concern is about her youngest son who has an IEP (Individualized Education Program). She says he needs to be monitored this year to see if he needs extra help.

“I’m just concerned that he might get behind,” she said.

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Jeanette Nolton Horne says she wants her third grader to have social interaction outside of a computer screen.

“That uncertainty I find the most difficult,” she said.

The Elk Grove Unified School District was the first in the Sacramento area to close down over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic when a student at one campus tested positive. Now it will be among the first to begin distance learning to start the 2020 school year. Most of the elementary students in the district began instruction Monday while middle and high school students go back next week.

Stockton Unified is also kicking off its first day of school. Many parents tell CBS13 they saw more structure, with more required “minutes” connecting with teachers, live.

“It’s a lot better than the emergency plan that they had,” said Kelough.

Some parents still worry their kids and the teachers aren’t prepared to head back this early.

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In Elk Grove, leaders say it’s what they’ve been preparing for since their emergency plan went into effect.

Xanthi Pinkerton said, “Everybody is coming to the classroom with something happening in their environment, so teachers are being trained on how to fold students back into the process, and being sensitive to a traumatic experience.”

Leaders in Stockton say their biggest challenge is keeping students engaged and accounted for.

“One of the things we’re doing is making sure there is daily contact, each teacher is making sure those connections are made,” said Dr. Shelley Spessard.

But some parents are staying positive, promising to make sure their kids don’t fall behind.

“We’re going to learn and get through this together, and this is going to be a part of history and were going to be able to say this is what we did to get through it,” said Kelough.

Elk Grove Unified handed out a survey to parents for input on distancing learning, Monday.

Marissa Perlman

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