By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Tony Thurmond, the state’s superintendent of public schools, got a chance to see how schools are preparing for the upcoming school year in East LA Friday.

(credit: CBS)

Thurmond toured a LA’s Best summer program at Monte Vista Elementary in East Los Angeles to see for himself how children have adjusted to safety precautions and restrictions, while continuing to learn and play.

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“We’re so proud of you,” Thurmond said to a classroom of students. “Everyone’s wearing a mask, everyone’s being safe, and everyone’s learning.”

All of the safety measure that LAUSD implemented at the end of the last school year remain in place – students are masking, undergoing testing, and extra sanitizing is being conducted throughout the facilities. And even though some of the students have been in this summer program before and are having to deal with the extra safety measures – the program’s coordinators say the children seem to be enjoying it even more this year.

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“They just love seeing people again,” Coordinator Vanessa Parra said. “We were online for such a long time, so those first couple of days, they just wanted to be with their friends, so we were teaching air high fives and air hugs.”

School administrators say they are confident their safety measures will keep students safe and healthy going into the fall – but with most elementary school students still ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, LAUSD board member Jackie Goldberg urged students to talk to their parents and adult family members about getting vaccinated themselves.

But the most critical component to the safety measures – cooperation from the children – is already in place.

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“The kids have adapted really well to following the social distancing,” Parra said. “We tell them to stay three feet apart, so we use a scenario where we do hands apart, kind of create a body in front of them. Surprisingly, they’ve adjusted really well.”