Laguna Beach High School Resumes In-Person Classes

March 19, 2021 Updated: March 19, 2021

After a year of distance learning over Zoom, Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) and Thurston Middle School have reopened for modified in-person classes.

The change came after Orange County moved into red tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy March 14, and while the schools are not fully back to normal yet, the announcement was celebrated by staff and students.

Laguna Beach High and Thurston Middle each resumed in-person instruction March 17, but only half the students at a time will be allowed in the classroom, with the other half watching through Zoom remotely. The first group attends school Mondays and Wednesdays, with the second attending Tuesdays and Thursdays. All students are scheduled to have class over Zoom on Fridays.

“We’re so excited to welcome our students back to LBHS,” Carrie Denton, a marine biology teacher said in a video posted to Twitter. “…We’re just looking forward to the sounds and all of the fun that class brings.”

The high school welcomed back about 300 students on its reopening day, while Thurston middle had about 250.

Part of the schools’ safety protocols include students wearing masks through the day, lining up in the morning at assigned campus entry points for temperature screenings, and socially -distanced desks. There are no more than 12 students in any given class.

The reopening of in-person classes came as a relief for some students, who have been away from fellow students and friends since last March.

“The thing I really like about going back to school is seeing all these people I know, because I’ve been stuck at home for such a long time that, when you see people you usually see every day, it’s like seeing a celebrity,” a Thurston Middle School student named Zoe said in a video posted to Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Twitter page.

“It’s so amazing and it’s so exciting to reunite with everyone you know.”

Thurston Middle School principal Joe Vidal also expressed his appreciation for the return of physical classes.

“[I’m] so excited to see our kids back, lots of big and happy eyes as our students are coming back here onto campus,” he said on Twitter. “We’re all having positive vibes and the light at the end of the tunnel keeps getting brighter and brighter.”

Follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewVanVoorhis