By Rachel Wulff

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It was the first day back in class for thousands of students in the Natomas Unified School District – and even though there wasn’t a lot of instruction today, parents gave it high marks.

“It’s lovely,” said Lianna Ketleson. “I wish it was all day every day, but we will take what we can get.”

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Ketleson couldn’t contain her excitement as she drove off after dropping her daughter off for her first day back at Paso Verde School.

“It feels awesome to see all my friends and to be in the school,” said Grace Ketleson.

Hundreds of students lined up for their first day of in-person class in nearly a year.

“They will practice routine like keeping distance when they are exiting [and] entering their classrooms, doing hand washing demos inside their classrooms, looking at how distanced their desks are,” said Tonja Jarrell, Paso Verde’s principal.

Students are divided into cohorts “A” and “B” to stagger class time. They will do distance learning two days a week as the district transitions back.

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“Next week, March 1, we’ll have pre-K to second grade for in-person instruction,” said Deidra Powell, a spokesperson for the district. “And then the following week, March 8, we’ll fold in our third through sixth grade.”

Students had their temperature checked and maintained social distancing while wearing masks. All one thousand Natomas school district staff have had the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Parents were pleased.

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“They have been really safe with all their cleaning and PPE, so I feel really good about bringing them back,” said Tanya Prast, who has two kids in Natomas schools.

Secondary students will have the opportunity to return to the classroom within five days of Sacramento County moving to the Red Tier.

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Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the names of Paso Verde principal Tonja Jarrell and Natomas Unified spokesperson Deidra Powell. We apologize for the error.