Thousands return to online classes in Sonoma County on first day of school

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Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat

On Monday, Stephanie Foss took the first day of school off from work, just like she has done every other year in recent memory, all the better to get her three kids up, fed and ready for a new academic year.

But instead of taking photos and dropping the kids off at Cesar Chavez Language Academy and Cook Middle School, Foss never left the house. The mother of three spent a good chunk of the day Monday moving from a downstairs workstation to upstairs bedrooms, monitoring Zoom meetings, troubleshooting Chromebooks and making sure the academic day went smoothly.

It was a scene that unfolded across Sonoma County on Monday as the 2020-21 school year opened not on campuses but in homes, the result of public health orders that prevented schools from conducting in-person classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Although some districts started last week and a few will kick off later this week, Monday marked the largest return to school day in this most unusual school year. Santa Rosa City Schools, the largest district in Sonoma County with its nearly 16,000 students, started class Monday, as did Sonoma Valley, Rincon Valley, Sebastopol, Geyserville, Bellevue and others.

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