SUNNYVALE (KRON) – About 400 students are back in the classroom at San Miguel Elementary in Sunnyvale. This year, they’re sitting more closely together as COVID-19 restrictions have eased.

Students are still being screened for the coronavirus before going to school, but protocols have eased across the Sunnyvale School District. Masking is strongly recommended, but remains optional.

Parents and volunteers are allowed to step inside onto the campuses.

At San Miguel Elementary and Colombia Middle schools, the Spanish-English dual immersion program has expanded from Kindergarten to the 7th Grade. It will be offered to 8th graders next year.

it will also be offered to 8th graders next year.

Superintendent Michael Gallagher said that the district is in the process of constructing its second two-story building at Ellis Elementary.

“This year we opened some new classrooms, we renovated and we opened the front office none of that was available last year,” he said.

He said this year’s motto is “onward with equity and innovation.”

School officials say some students have still chosen to do independent studies — a form of remote learning — but more than 5,000 have returned to in-person learning across the district.