At a glance, it looked like a normal first day of school: Kids climbed excitedly on a jungle gym, a teacher led story time, a group of fourth graders went over classroom expectations for the year.
It was far from normal. All the students and staff had been privately tested for the coronavirus before being allowed to return to campus. Classes were being held under tents in parking lots and in storage spaces converted into outdoor or open-air classrooms. One teacher led her class remotely from a screen as she quarantined at home after traveling for a family emergency. Kindergarteners, on their first-ever day of in-person school, were learning about “air hugs” and using “airplane arms” to stay 6 feet apart.
Synapse School, a small private school in Menlo Park, is one of at least 20 San Mateo County schools that have been granted waivers to reopen in person for elementary grades….