LOS ANGELES — Taking down the Christmas tree and holiday decorations is just one of the signs that winter break is over and students like 9-year-old Sandra Ruiz Chau are headed back to school.  

Sandra said she was “kind of nervous to go back” because it's the first time she will have set foot into a classroom since the pandemic began in March 2020. 

What You Need To Know

  • LAUSD students returned to the classroom on Monday

  • All students and staff are required to test negative before coming onto campus

  • The start of class was pushed back to allow students and staff more time to test

  • More than 600,000 students are enrolled in LAUSD

“It’ll be fun to see other kids my age and my past teachers,” Sandra said.

Her mom, Sandra Ruiz, has kept her home since March 2020. Her parents help care for her daughter after school. Both are high risk, and there was no vaccine for children Sandra's age at the time.

“It wasn’t worth it to have her come back with something and have her infect her and them in the process,” said Ruiz, who is also an LAUSD teacher.  

Ruiz knows that COVID rates are high within the district, so she’s planning ahead.

“So I have to make sure that whatever I’m planning for this first week or first two weeks are things that students are easily able to catch up on if they aren’t there,” she said.

But with this recent surge and LA County seeing a record daily number of COVID cases, Ruiz wonders what it will take for state legislators to consider delaying the start of school. 

“I understand that there is a lot of law and legislation and politics involved as to why a district as large as LAUSD can not go back to virtual learning the way we were used to back in 2020. At the same time, that legislation was made when there wasn’t a second surge of a pandemic, the worst we’ve seen yet,” she said.

As for Ruiz's daughter, the pandemic has sparked her curiosity in viruses.

“At first, I want to study viruses and I wanted to go toward being a doctor, but I didn’t know there was such a thing that you can do both, so I found out there was, and now I want to be both," said Sandra.