Fresno's Kepler Neighborhood School welcomes students back with new safety precautions

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno charter school is making big changes to keep its students safe on campus. At Kepler Neighborhood School in downtown Fresno, every day starts with a dance party.

"The music is to get the kids going in the morning, it's to get teachers going as well as well as the parents," said Athletic Director Elliott Murray. "We even see people driving past going to work downtown."

From there, it's time for temperature checks and health questionnaires.

"Before they even enter the building, we have a nurse on sight doing all the checks outside before you even enter the building," said Murray.

The Fresno charter school welcomed students back in mid-October.

Parent Yurubi Ramirez said having her girls in the classroom again was a welcome relief.

"They're more interactive, and they're learning more and they get to socialize stuff like that," said Ramirez.

However, the return to campus didn't come without some initial concerns.

"I was nervous, to be honest, but I left it up to them, if they're feeling uncomfortable or scared we have good communication, so they let me know," said Ramirez.

Now students are settling into a new normal. From lunch to recess, everything looks a little different these days.

"We've separated the playground into quadrants, and classes have their own little quadrant where they play in those spaces," said Principal Rachel Kuhtz about new recess procedures. "There are spaces for them to have a mask break where they can take off their mask."

Lunch is eaten in the classroom, and if students need to take a bathroom break, back up is called.

"I think one of the biggest changes we've had to do is hire support staff to escort students to the bathroom," said Kuhtz. "We can't have kids hanging out in the bathroom."

Kepler Neighborhood holds students grades K-8.
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