How Fresno Unified plans to open up next academic year under new state guidelines

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

FRESNO Calif. (KSEE) — Monday morning State Superintendent of Schools Tony Thurmond revealed new guidelines on the safest way California public schools should follow when opening for the next academic school year.

 “We are asking districts to plan based on the most safe guidelines that we know of about how to reopen safely,” said Thurmond. 

Thurmond said he and other officials released a 55-page guidebook on how schools can safely adhere to the new guidelines. 

“Safety first ahead of everything,” said Thurmond. “That there is nothing more important right now than promoting the safety of our students and our staff and their families and addressing the social-emotional needs of our students.”

Some of the new guidelines school districts should follow are wearing mask for faculty, staff, and students. Along with maintaining six feet of social distancing in the classroom. Plus, the possibility of doing temperature checks before students get dropped off. 

Bob Nelson is the Superintendent of Fresno Unified School District. He said they are working on a plan to ensure the safe return of all of their students.

“Figure out how we can put six feet of space available wherever we can,” said Nelson. “How can we utilize our outdoor spaces, how do we utilize our communal spaces like the multipurpose room like the gym to help us but with the intent of getting kids back.”

Nelson said the safety of the students and staff is there number one priority. They recently did a survey to see what percent of parents would keep their kids home during the next school year.

Nelson said the results showed about 20 to 30% of parents said they would opt for online curriculum. 

“We encourage people to utilize their own agency in whatever way they will and we want to respect that for families,” said Nelson. “But, we want to offer a normal process in whatever way we can in terms of getting school back for the Fall.”

That means a rough estimate of 70 to 80% of their parents say they are ready to send their students back to school as long as the district adheres to the new safety guidelines. 

“We want to normalize what it means to have school we recognize the importance of in our society but it has to be in way that’s responsible and safe,” said Nelson.

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