By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Sacramento County officially hit the benchmark allowing schools to reopen on Tuesday, putting talks of bringing kids back to campus into motion. But parents and students have differing viewpoints on the idea of a return.

“I don’t like it at all,” Dakota Patterson, an Elk Grove Unified School District student said. “Sometimes the internet stops working and it’s annoying.”

Dakota and his dad, Sam Patterson, are fed up with distance learning. Sam was laid off earlier this year and is now ready for a return to normal. He said distance learning makes things more difficult.

“It’s an extra bill for the babysitter,” Sam Patterson said. “I’ve got to go try and find work. It’s been tough.”

Their school district in Elk Grove is among the many making decisions about how to go back safely. But that may not be anytime soon. A spokesperson for the district said they plan on keeping distance learning for the time being. The conversation on how to return safely continues, but Sam doesn’t think families will have an answer anytime soon.

READ: Sacramento City Unified Opens On-Campus Learning Hubs For Vulnerable Students

“I’m not going to hold my breath,” Sam Patterson said.

Though as talks continue, some districts are a little further along.

“We owe our students,” Natomas Unified Superintendent Chris Evans said. “If other students are getting it, in other counties and other parts of the state, it really is an equity issue for students in all of Sacramento. They need a chance.”

Evans wants kids back in the classroom as soon and as safely possible. His staff is already noticing learning loss in students, prompting Natomas to set ‘benchmarks’ of achievement.

“The benchmark idea rather than just picking a day is just us trying to manage what has been the consistent inconsistency of this virus,” Evans said.

The benchmark plan allows the district the flexibility to choose when to begin, based on tracking data and survey responses over several weeks. The first step has been met, which is Sacramento County allowing schools to reopen. Now the district can move on to the next, allowing parents to choose what type of learning works best for their family.

Natomas parent Lindsey Blair is not so sure about an in-person return.

“It makes me a little nervous sending my kids back at the beginning of breakout season for flu and cold,” Blair said.

Blair said her mind could be swayed if she physically sees the precautionary measures in place before sending her kids back.

“It would just be interesting to see a visualization of it,” Blair said.

These are measures the district said will be double-checked by an architect before letting kids sit in their seats once again.

The Natomas Unified District votes on whether or not to adopt the benchmark idea at their board meeting Wednesday night. A district memo says if adopted at the moment, the earliest expected in-person return wouldn’t be until the end of November. Though changes in county COVID metrics could push the start date forward or back.

Heather Janssen

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