Central Unified to delay in-person classes until Fresno County is in 'red tier'

The district will now wait until Fresno County moves out of the 'purple tier' to reopen campuses.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students around the Valley were looking forward to winter break and spending time away from their laptops and computer screens.

They were hoping the new year brings change.

But one of the Valley's bigger districts will wait until COVID cases sharply fall before bringing kids back for in-person learning.

Many Central Unified elementary school students heading into Christmas break were scheduled to return to campus January 11th but the school board has voted to delay that plan.

The district will now wait until Fresno County moves out of the 'purple tier' and back into the 'red tier'.

Central Unified Superintendent Andy Alvarado said, "We're confident when we're in the Red that we will be safe in being able to bring kids back in a hybrid model and then for the secondary, we won't entertain that until we're in the Orange."

Alvarado added at this point it was not logistically possible to bring secondary students back to campus.

Christmas break was seen as a time for all schools to reset.

Health care workers have begun to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond believes teachers should also be in the vaccine priority group.

Thurmond explained, "This is our opportunity to stem the surge and put us in position to potentially open schools in the new year."

Many parents around the valley have watched their kids struggle with remote learning. Students have also missed their friends, social activities and sports.

Thurmond called this a time of recovery, when educators were looking to offset learning gaps suffered by students.

He said, "We know there are unavoidable impacts to being in distance learning. Our system was not established to educate students this way."

Thurmond added educators were looking at offering small group activities and after school programs for kids who are able to return to campus sometime after the new year.
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