More Central Valley schools bring back students for in-person learning this week

This week marks the return to on-campus instruction for many school districts across the Central Valley and state.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- This week marks the return to on-campus instruction for many school districts across the Central Valley and state.

As campuses prepare to welcome back some students for in-person learning, Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged others to follow their lead.

"Let's do this. Let's not wait," Newsom said on Sunday. "Weeks become months, and months become the school year."

RELATED: Small cohorts of students return to Fresno Unified campuses

Newsom said districts should resume class for the youngest children first. He recommends schools start with Kindergarten through second-grade and then move onto third to sixth grade.

Parlier Unified in Fresno County will follow the model and bring back Kindergarten through second-grade this week and third and sixth the following week.

Fresno Unified will begin welcoming back small groups of high-need students this Monday.

"We can do this safe," Newsom said. "Hold us to account to do it safely. We are going to protect people."

In Clovis Unified, in-person learning will resume for some junior high and high school students this week via a hybrid learning model.

They'll be on campus twice a week.

District officials had a lengthy conversation with the state and county before making this decision.

Kings Canyon Unified School District is also welcoming back some of its students this week. Students in 11th and 12th-grade at Reedley Middle College High School will begin in-person learning as early as Monday.

Those who selected the option to return for in-person instruction will be able to do so under a hybrid model.

Kings Canyon Unified will also be welcoming back even more students to its campuses just one week from today. Starting the first week of March, Kings Canyon High School, Orange Cove High School and Reedley High School will also be on hybrid models.

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This applies to those who have opted to return to campus.

District officials say this option is possible because the Fresno County Health Department changed guidelines for secondary students to return to in-person learning.

Visalia Unified School District will have fifth and sixth-grade students return to campus on Monday morning. Last month, the district allowed many third and fourth grade students to return, following months of distance learning.

Newsom said 10% of California's vaccine allocation is being set aside for educators.

"At the end of the day, we can do this now as we administer more doses and, yes, prioritizing our teachers," he said.

The governor said he wants educators to be fully vaccinated, which will happen as more vaccination sites open across the state.

Newsom planned to make up for learning disparities brought on by the pandemic. He said $4.6 billion would be set aside to address learning loss.

RELATED: California to set aside 10% of all 1st vaccine doses for teachers, Gov. Gavin Newsom announces

"It is profound and pronounced typically in diverse communities," he said. "It was overwhelmingly pronounced before the pandemic, and now post-pandemic it is even worse for Black and brown communities. We have a unique special obligation to do something more."

Newsom said it would be up to the state's school districts to decide how to spend those dollars.

This could mean more after-school programs, summer school or even an extended school year.
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