four students seated, classroom, desks, windows

Central Valley CSD Superintendent Jeremy Rich praised parents, students, and school staff for their help smoothing out the rough edges on the first day of school on Monday, Sep. 14.

"I want to thank our community for their patience as we worked our way through our school opening," he said.

"As always on the first day, we had some things we did well and other things we need to tweak."

He was on hand as students arrived at Gregory B. Jarvis Middle School and later at Barringer Road Elementary.

Students arriving went through the new procedures that included wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and having their temperatures taken before entering the hallways.

"I am proud of our students; they got the idea," he said.

Not all went smoothly—especially with technology. Teachers and students had intermittent internet service. Some could not get on the network and others were kicked off. Those who managed to stay connected struggled with slow connections.

"This was especially hard on our students at home," said Mr. Rich.

"They were desperately trying to log into their classes and couldn't. Worse, without our internet, we couldn't tell them what was happening. They didn't have anyone telling them it was not their fault and that they weren't going to be in trouble."

Mr. Rich's daughter was one of those who managed to join her classroom, but discovered the camera and microphone on her Chromebook weren't working. She used a different device that identified her as a different family member. She anxiously explained to her teachers that it was really her joining the virtual classroom.

As is usual on the first day, there were a few snags with bus runs. The transportation department quickly corrected the issues.

"Despite the issues, this was a good start—especially given the extraordinary circumstances of COVID," Mr. Rich said.

"We got through arrival and our first hours. I know it will only get better with each day. The biggest message I want to share is that this will take all of us working together to make this happen. We know we need to get it done, because our students deserve our best."