Central Unified School District welcomes back nearly 16,000 students

Students will start the fall semester with in-person learning five days a week.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Central Unified School District welcomed back nearly 16,000 students for their first day of school.

"It was hard to transition from middle school to high school. With Covid, I wasn't in person, but we had to stay positive and hope things would get better," said sophomore and Associated Student Body president Perrin Haynes.

About 1,200 students were either dropped off or arrived on buses at Justin Garza High School Wednesday morning. A busy day the district has been preparing for.

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"We've been waiting for this day as educators. You know we did everything we could last year, but we want to be here with our kids, and this day is here, and we are excited about it," said acting superintendent Ketti Davis.

After 18 months of online learning, many of the freshmen and sophomores are not only excited for a sense of normalcy but to enjoy a brand new campus.

"It's a smaller class size, and it's more like a family here because it's a smaller school, so I do enjoy it," said sophomore Adrianna De La Rosa.

Standards are set high by founding Principal Ezequiel Gutierrez in honor of the late Justin Garza, a teacher and football coach.

"I think the mantra he used the most and is noted for is 'stand for more.' So as we open up our new school, we are going to help our students form that cultural identity to not only stand for more but stand out and stand together," said Principal Ezequiel Gutierrez.

When it comes to staying safe from COVID-19, guidelines are in place district-wide.

"Wearing a mask indoors, they are welcome to wear it outdoors. Hand washing stations around campus, and definitely if you are not feeling well, we are going to miss you, but we want you to stay home," said Davis.

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