FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The Fresno County Superintendent of Schools sent district leaders across the county a letter on Friday regarding options available to reopen schools while in the purple coronavirus case status.
While in the purple range, school districts are allowed certain exceptions for in-person learning with consultation and/or approval by the county public health officer, said Jim Yovino, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools. The exceptions include cohorts of small-group instruction with limitations and elementary school wavers for grades TK-6 with approval of the county public health officer.
“We are all eager to return children to the classroom because we know the most impactful learning comes from teachers interacting in person with students,” Yovino said.
The guidance allows county school districts to establish cohorts and provide the ability to apply for elementary wavers.
The superintendent added that “schools and districts should now exercise their local control and decision-making process to choose the best path forward for their schools and communities.”
Schools that do not receive approval to reopen under these circumstances through a waiver must continue to operate by distance-learning as well as any applicable order or directed by county health officials.
The Superintendent said that once Fresno County receives clearance to move to, and remains in the red designation for COVID-19 cases for two consecutive weeks, all schools may reopen grades TK-12 with approval by the county public health officer while following all safety criteria, which includes maintaining 6 feet of social distancing.
All safety protocols are expected to remain in place whether schools teach through a cohort or receive an elementary waiver or if the county’s designation moves from purple to red, education officials stressed.
“Thank you to the superintendents and boards of education who have worked tirelessly to navigate this uncertain time for the safety and success of every family in Fresno County,” Yovino said.