By CBSLA Staff

CHINO HILLS (CBSLA) — For a dozen school districts in the Inland Empire, Monday marked the first day of school but things looked very different on campus as students headed back to class from home.

It was the first day of a new school year, which is always full of excitement for kids, but was a different first day for parents.

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Jenna Esquer has two children, one who is in kindergarten and one who is a third-grader.

“We had a tough go at the beginning,” said Esquer. “I definitely had to sit there with him. He wanted to get down walk around.”

At Ruben Ayala High School, students picked up last-minute books and laptops seemed to fair better.

“I think it was really good. The teachers are really helpful,” said Bella Capagna.

Capagna is starting 9th grade. With a new year and a new school, she admitted there were things she missed.

“Honestly, I wish could have gone onto campus and walk around, walk to my new classes, but it is what it is. We’ve got to stay safe,” she said.

Although the change is tough on their social development, some feel taking classes from home could have its benefits as there are fewer destructions.

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“It might give me a little more time to catch up and not fall behind,” said 12th grader Jaden Vasquez.

As for the teachers in the Chino Valley Unified School District, they had a choice to either come to the classroom or work from home.

Inside Chino High, about 60% of the teachers chose to show up even without their students.

Since many students in this district and others struggled with technology at the end of last year, the Chino Valley District spent the summer trying to close the digital divide.

“We have delivered hundreds of Chromebooks to our students,” said Chino High School principal John Miller. “The Chromebooks and laptops are very important because they have the cameras attached to it that allows them to interact with their teachers, interact with their peers.”

But one thing that’s harder to master is a parent’s time. Esquer works at a local dentist’s office and has had to cut back her hours to be home with her kids in the morning. She is also concerned about screen time as online learning will surely continue for weeks to come.

“Five hours is just a lot to be on the computer for anybody but especially an 8-year-old,” Esquer said.

As for when students will be able to physically return to the classroom, that depends on the COVID numbers in each particular county.

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When allowed, students in the Chino Valley School District will alternate between learning from home and learning at school in order to cut class sizes in half.