Under the watchful eye of instructional assistant Sharla McClean, kindergartner Zoe Iracheta work through a lesson at Alameda Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 5. Selected students are in socially distanced classes two hours a day. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

For 65 Ontario students, last Wednesday was the first day of school.

That was when Alameda Elementary School opened its doors for the first time this school year to put students in front of teachers in classrooms.

They had all started the year as did the rest of the students in Ontario School District – attending lessons via the internet. The Ontario district was the last in Malheur County to tiptoe back into in-person teaching.

“It was like Christmas morning,” said Andrea Buchholtz, Alameda principal, about welcoming back some students.

Teachers and administrators selected students to return to classrooms who were having trouble with virtual access or otherwise would benefit most from being in school.

For the handful of kindergarteners, last week was their first day of school ever. They were widely separated at kiddy-sized desks, blue tape marking their individual spaces. Headphones clamped on, they listened to lessons with others who were still at home.

In a third-grade classroom, students had custom backdrops, dressing up their participation in virtual classes.

May Roberts Elementary School is expected to return 20 to 30 students on Monday, Nov. 16, and Pioneer will bring back five students on Nov. 30.

Ten nursing students and 12 students in personal training classes returned to Ontario High School last week. About 30 students in welding classes are scheduled to be in school on Nov. 30.

Ontario Middle School is scheduled to return about 60 students to classes on Nov. 30.

Third grader Franklin Wilson engages in a lesson at Alameda Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 5 (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Third grader Avery Brent works in class at Alameda Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 5. The school last week returned about 65 students to classrooms for limited instruction. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Instructional Assistant Estfani Nunez teaches a reading intervention class at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario on Thursday, Nov. 5. The school returned about 65 students to limited classes on Wednesday, Nov. 4, but most teaching will continue virtually. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

A kindergartner at Alameda Elementary School sits in a classroom with a handful of others but joins her class online on Thursday, Nov. 5. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Sixth graders Ava Bautista, Carlos Covarrubias, Ruben Guillen listen to a lesson at Alameda Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 5. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Instructional Assistant Chelsie Naillon teaches a reading class on Thursday, Nov. 5, at Alameda Elementary School. Most instruction continues to be done online because of the pandemic. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Kindergartner Zoe Iracheta, in her second day of school on Thursday, Nov. 5, at Alameda Elementary School, focuses on a lesson. The school returned about 65 students to classrooms for limited instruction. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Third grader Lucas Hernandez Reyes, sitting in front his online background, focuses on a lesson on Thursday, Nov. 5, at Alameda Elementary School. The school returned about 65 students to classrooms for limited instruction. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Third grader Avery Brent works in class at Alameda Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 5. The school last week returned about 65 students to classrooms for limited instruction. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Sixth grade teacher Lucas Tackman goes over a lesson with students both in class and online at Alameda Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 5. The school last week returned about 65 students to classrooms for limited instruction. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Students get an encouraging message as they return to Alameda Elementary School in Ontario. The school returned 65 students to in-person classes for two hours a day on Wednesday, Nov. 4. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Sixth grade teacher Lucas Tackman leads students through lessons at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario on Thursday, Nov. 5. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Third grade teacher Katrina Dayton leads students in person and online through the day's lesson at Alameda Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 5. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Kindergartners work through lessons in their second day of school at Alameda Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 5. Selected students are in socially distanced classes two hours a day. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Contact Editor Les Zaitz by email: [email protected]

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