Pasadena Unified School District began the 2020-2021 school year on Monday, August 17, reopening their virtual doors to students and teachers alike.

“We’re excited to see our students reconnect, learn, and advance in the new school year,” Superintendent Brian McDonald said. “Although we are beginning with extraordinary circumstances, the entire PUSD team is committed to providing a quality education for all of our students.”

PUSD differs from other districts in the country as they decided to open their campuses. In communities in Georgia and Nebraska, this step resulted in COVID-19 outbreaks in some schools.

In suburban Atlanta, a school district quarantined nearly 1,200 students and teachers after a 2nd-grade student tested positive for COVID-19. In Nebraska, Broken Bow School district canceled classes after a staff member tested positive.

PUSD and many other school districts in California opted to continue with online learning. PUSD decided to go with distance learning as COVID-19 cases increased in the region.

“While we’re excited about the start of the new school year, we know that we are facing challenges that are new to all of us,” McDonald said. “We therefore ask that you keep in mind that the first couple of weeks of school may not go according to plan.”

PUSD shortened the first week of school, giving students August 20 and 21 off, to allow faculty and staff to attend a staff development session.

Grab-and-go meals will resume on the first day of school, August 17. Parents and students can pick up breakfast and lunch at any school site between 9 a.m. and noon.

PUSD has also extended the helpdesk hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., allowing students direct support for their devices and applications. The district also provides curbside tech support; however, it requires a prior appointment. Parents can also help their children by watching videos and workshops on the PUSD website.

“Please rest assured that we will do all that we can to assist you as needed,” McDonald said. “Our commitment to doing our best for students remains the same.”

PUSD will not have child care until state guidance is issued. According to a press release, they will receive instructions this week.