Porterville Unified middle, high school students return to campus

Porterville Unified middle and high school students are back in the classroom for in-person learning.
PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Jose Avina had butterflies in his stomach as he returned to Monache High School for the first time in more than a year on Monday.

"I'm a senior so I shouldn't be nervous about coming back but this morning I was just extremely nervous," Avina said. "And I think it's just overwhelming to see a lot of people."

Avina says distance learning was good for his grades, but not so favorable for socializing with friends and teachers.

ASB President Addison Sampietro can relate.

Distance learning was not natural but Monday feels a bit more normal - even with masks and Plexiglas dividers.

"It's so much fun and we actually get to talk to each other now and talk to our teachers," Sampietro said. "I just met my first period teacher that I've had online for the whole year, I finally got to meet him in-person."

On Monday, Porterville Unified middle and high school students were allowed to return for in-person instruction.

Classes take place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings, with distance learning on Wednesdays.

But many students have chosen to continue with full distance learning.

At Monache, around 45% of students are back on campus.

"We're respecting parents' rights to keep their kids home or send them and we are letting them know that they can call and discuss with us if they want to make the transition back to in-person learning," Monache High Principal Eric Barba said.

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Elementary schools students also returned for in-person learning on Monday.

They have full days four days a week.

Middle and high schoolers have half days, but senior Sullivan Focke knows any time spent on campus will be well worth it.

"It's definitely going to be interesting being able to say that we were a part of it, especially being a high school senior," Focke said.
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