Clovis Unified to hold special meeting regarding masks on campuses

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the Delta Variant continues to spread and vaccination rates remain low in Central California, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, on Thursday, released guidelines for how school districts plan to re-open safely to full-time in-person learning.

"We can do this, but it does require that everyone wear a mask, we continue with COVID testing and it means that anyone who can get a vaccine, please get a vaccine," he said. "That's part of our back-to-school routine."

Superintendent Thurmond's comments come just days after the CDC announced it now recommends masking in schools.

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In light of the new guidelines, the California Department of Public Health recommends face coverings for all indoor public settings, but some within Clovis Unified would like for parents to make that choice for their kids.

The district has scheduled a special Thursday night meeting with the mask resolution expected to be discussed.

RELATED: California health officials recommend wearing face mask indoors even if you're vaccinated

"There is in place through the California Department of Public Health an expectation that school boards establish procedures to have parents apply for exemptions," says Clovis Unified Spokesperson Kelly Avants. "So on the agenda is our board's action to approve the process we're using."

According to Thurmond, the state plans to cover the costs of a number of health and safety programs for districts, including rapid COVID-19 testing.

"The State of California has secured five million of the Binax rapid COVID test," he said. "They are free to school districts."

The state is also offering the option for outdoor education since research shows there is reduced transmission of COVID-19 when outside.

More than half of all San Mateo County schools are prepared to implement this plan.

"It's not new to us, we've always known about outdoor education," Thurmond said. "It's a hands-on way for students to learn. They become stewards of their environment but in the COVID-19 area, hands-on outdoor education becomes a great COVID mitigation strategy."
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