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It’s Back-To-School Season For Students In Riverbank
RHS Front Office
A normally bustling spot on a regular school day, the attendance office remains kind of ho-hum on the first day of class for Riverbank High School last week. Teachers were back at work on Monday, but classes resumed on Thursday, Aug. 6, for the fall session. The COVID difference this year is that students will be studying via distance learning from their homes, as they did in the spring. Teachers, on the other hand, were hard at work in their classrooms, in front of their own computers, delivering lessons as they might have in the past, before this ‘new normal.’ Ric McGinnis/The News
Lunch time at Riverbank High School on the first day back to school finds art teacher Ashley Estaqe at a picnic-style setup on the grass between wings on campus. And she’s lunching with daughter Eve Maxtin, who normally attends Cardozo Middle School, and son Theo Maxtin, a fourth grader at California Avenue Elementary School. Estaqe explained that, while she is conducting her classes online via the internet, her children were with her at RHS, attending a combined class serving students who are children of other teachers as well. Ric McGinnis/The News

Although you couldn’t tell it so much from looking around school campuses in Riverbank during the past week or so, classes began for the new school year as scheduled last week, on Thursday, Aug. 6.

Monday through Wednesday last week, Aug. 3 through 5, teachers were in their classrooms and in meetings, organizing themselves for what is expected to be the ‘new normal,’ at least for the fall semester. Distance learning is the platform for all Riverbank Unified School District students and, in fact, is in place throughout Stanislaus County.

The halls of the Riverbank High School campus were devoid of the normal hustle and bustle of school attendance, since students were at home, glued to their Chromebook computers. In the meantime, teachers were broadcasting from their classrooms, via the internet, trying to keep things as much like the past as possible. Class period schedules were the order of the day, including a break for lunch, as usual.

In addition to the quiet in the hallways and byways across the campus, there was a marked quiet evident in the front office, where attendance, campus visitors and other administrative activities typically occur. Just staff members were present, since the normally noisy students were nowhere to be found.

While regular classes, like math, science, history and languages, are relatively the same over the internet, there’s no official word yet on how more artistic classes can be taught. Performance classes, like band, or drama, seem more difficult to present, as are the building construction classes.

And there’s been no word on physical education activities; how and when they might be scheduled.

Also, with the COVID-19 pandemic still in full force, high school sports in the area are being postponed, with a scheduled start of the fall season not planned until January 2021.

One of a campus full of teachers at Riverbank High School last week, Spanish instructor Pete Perkins uses the internet to talk to his class members who are viewing from home. The meeting software employed only allows nine students at a time to be seen, but teachers are adapting, taking attendance and following lesson plans and sticking to a regular schedule of class periods. The new school year began last Thursday, Aug. 6, with distance learning the rule across the state and in much of the country, because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Ric McGinnis/The News